What Happened at the Interfaith Vigil at Cathedral of the Holy Cross
Update 12:03 p.m.:
President Barack Obama steps to the podium, citing scripture: “Run with endurance, the race that is set before us,” he says. “On Monday morning, the sun rose over Boston. The sunlight glistened off the State House dome, in the Common, and the Public Garden. Spring was in bloom. On Patriots Day … fans jumped onto the T to see the Sox at Fenway. In Hopkinton, runners laced up their shoes and set up on a 26.2 mile test of dedication and grit.”
Obama said it was a beautiful day to be in Boston, reading an excerpt from a poem that called the city “a perfect state of grace.”
“Then, in an instant, the day’s beauty was shattered. A celebration became a tragedy. So we come together to pray—and mourn—and measure our loss. But we also came together today to reclaim that state of grace and reaffirm the spirit of this city is undaunted.”
Obama said what happened at the Marathon was personal, telling attendees that Boston is his home, too, and he has a past that started here in the area.
The president took a moment before talking about the victims who were killed in the blasts near the Boston Marathon finish line, and offered prayers to the families impacted by the incident.
He promised runners affected by the bombing that they would run again, “because that is what Boston is made of.”
Obama vowed that they will find those responsible for the attack, and they will face justice. “More than that, our fidelity to our way of life, to our free and open society, will only grow stronger. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but one of power, and love, and self discipline … we may be temporarily knocked off our feet, but we will pick ourselves up, we will keep going, we will finish the race.”
He ended his speech saying Boston will rise again, and tied in the the quote he used in the introduction, asking God to continue to watch over the city and the country.
Update 11:59 a.m.:
Governor Deval Patrick takes the podium and says he felt shock, confusion, and anger on the day of the attack. He says he has found things to be thankful for since the incident, however, like the civilians and the firefighters and police who helped the victims immediately after the blast went off. He also thanked a doctor who ran through the finish line and off to the hospital to help in the emergency room, and of course, Mayor Menino.
“Mayor Menino started Monday morning frustrated he couldn’t be at the finish line as he always is, but later checked himself out of the hospital to help us, our city, face down this tragedy,” Patrick says.
At the mention of Menino’s name, the crowd lets out a long applause.
Patrick says he is most especially thankful for the “proud” people in the Commonwealth who let their first instinct be kindness in a dark hour. “So many of you showed so many of us that darkness cannot drive out darkness. Only light can do that.”
He called the acts “cowardice” but asked that people not lose spiritual and civic faith.
“An attack on our civic ritual, like the marathon, especially on Patriots Day, is an attack on [our] values,” he said. “We will recover and repair … We will rise and we will endure. We will have accountability without vengeance.”
Patrick says he’s “honored” and “humbled” to welcome President Barack Obama.
Update 11:50 a.m.:
Cardinal Seán O’Malley, OFM Cap., takes the podium and says the Pope sent word to show support for Boston during this time. “The Holy Father prays we will be united in the resole … and to combat evil with good.”
He says this year’s celebration was marred by an act of senseless violence that has created great shock and pain—and relives the horror of September 11 and shows the evil in the world. But he said the goodness in those that helped in a time of crisis has made us a “more noble people” with stronger ties.
“Our presence here today is an act of solidarity. We are also in solidarity with those injured in the explosion and wish to show our desire to support them and their loved ones,” he says.
O’Malley said we must overcome the culture of death by promoting the culture of life, and give our lives in the service of others. During a recent retreat, O’Malley said he prayed while with 30 other priests, and listened to a similar gospel as the one he shared with attendees on Wednesday.
Update 11:45 a.m.:
Bishop John M. Borders III, Senior Pastor, Morning Star Baptist Church in Mattapan, now addresses the audience, referencing the Massachusetts license plate slogan “Spirit of America,” and prays that the world would look to Boston and see the true spirit that it has.
Update 11:30 a.m.:
Nasser Wedaddy, chair of the N.E. Interfaith Council, speaks to attendees and recites several prayers. He thanks law enforcement officials for keeping the city safe “as we speak” and everyone around the world for providing services to Boston in the wake of the terror.
He finishes his speech with a prayer asking for “strength to face [the] loss” and to unite the city in a time of grief.
Update 11:22 a.m.:
Prior to the ceremony beginning, thousands of people waited in line to get inside, while thousands more gathered in Franklin Park to put an end to any potential protests brought on by members of the Westboro Baptist Church.
“I am hoping no one shows up to protest the event. That would be the best thing. But just in case they do, we are here for support. We are here to show support for the families, the victims, and just America in general,” one supporter said.
Update 11:10 a.m.:
Mayor Menino arrives at the podium via wheelchair. In a dramatic moment, he stands to the podium to deliver his remarks. “It is a good morning because we are together,” he says. “We are one Boston … nothing can tear down the resilience in the heart of the city and its people. It is written that hatred stands up strife, but love covers all sins. And since the clock struck that faithful hour, love has covered this resilient city. I have never loved it or its people more than I do today.”
Menino praises to the “brave ones” who tugged the gates to the ground at the Marathon finish line to help victims hurt in the blast. “This is the courage of our city at work. We love the fathers and brothers who took the shirts off their backs … ”
“We have never loved the heroes in uniforms more than we do at this hour.”
Menino, which voice cracking and his eyes welling with tears, prays for the three victims killed in the blasts, and said the city will celebrate their spirits in the aftermath of the devastating day.
Update 11:05 a.m.:
Rev. Liz Walker speaks to the crowd and leads a prayer. She asks for the “broken-hearted city” to be blessed. President Obama sits in the front row with the First Lady.
Update 10:35 a.m.: Here’s a line-up of the service, which starts at 11 a.m.:
Welcome & Opening Prayer: Reverend Liz Walker, of the Roxbury Presbyterian Church
Greeting: Metropolitan Methodios, Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Boston, Brookline
Reflection: Mayor Menino
Reflection: Reverend Nancy S. Taylor, Senior Minister, Old South Church
Reading from Psalm 147:3: Rabbi Ronne Friedman, Senior Rabbi, Temple Israel
Reflection: Nasser S. Weddady, of the New England Interfaith Council
Reflection: Reverend Roberto Miranda, Senior Pastor, Congregación León de Judá, Roxbury
Gospel Reading from Matthew 5:1-12: Bishop John M. Borders III, Senior Pastor, Morning Star Baptist Church, Mattapan
Reflection: Cardinal Seán O’Malley, OFM Cap.
Reflection: Governor Deval Patrick
Reflection: President Barack Obama
Closing Blessing: Cardinal Seán O’Malley, OFM Cap.
Plus music from the Boston Children’s Choir and Yo-Yo Ma