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Cardinal Timothy Dolan gives testimony for slain Newton teacher

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
December 21st, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The world was horrified - and then profoundly inspired and touched to learn of the Sandy Hook Elementary School teacher who died cradling a special-needs student in her arms. It's unfortunate that great good sometimes only comes in the face of great evil. One of the nation's top religious leaders, New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan offered high praise for 52-year-old Anne Marie Murphy at her funeral.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - A married mother of four, Murphy's funeral was held at the Assumption Roman Catholic Church in Katonah, New York, where she lived before moving to Newtown, Connecticut.

Cardinal Dolan, who presided over the Mass, compared Murphy's sacrifice to Christ's. "Like him, she has brought together a community, a nation, a world, now awed by her own life and death," Dolan said.

"Like Jesus, Annie laid down her life for her friends," Dolan said. "Like Jesus, Annie's life and death brings light, truth, goodness and love to a world often shrouded in darkness, evil, selfishness and death."

Following Adam Lanza's rampage at Sandy Hook was over, authorities found 6-year-old Dylan Hockley "wrapped in the arms" of Murphy, his special-education teacher.

"We take great comfort in knowing that Dylan was not alone when he died," Hockley's parents said. "Dylan loved Mrs. Murphy so much and pointed at her picture on our refrigerator every day."

A statement from Murphy's family, read by her brother-in law Thomas Newman across the street from the white-steeple church, expressed sympathy for the loved ones of all 20 children and six staffers killed in Friday's massacre.

"[We] pray for all the families touched so terribly, that God may help these feelings of such great pain and grief pass quickly, that they may be replaced with only happy thoughts and joyous memories of those we have lost," they said.

Newton was wrapped in mourning with another series of wakes and funerals following the terrible tragedy. At Trinity Episcopal Church, 6-year-old victim Benjamin Wheeler's casket was carried by his uncles.

The Rev. Kathleen Adams-Shepherd told the crowd the crime was "inexplicable in human terms. She added that Benjamin's life was cut too short by a "sick young man with access to weapons that should never, ever be in a home," she said.

Trees outside the Sacred Heart Church in Southbury were festooned with green balloons, because that was 6-year-old Allison Wyatt's favorite color. The Rev. Walter L. Pitman recalled little Allison with fondness. "She was funny. She had her two grandfathers wrapped around her finger and she knew it."

At St. Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church in Newtown, 6-year-old Catherine Hubbard was eulogized by her mother, Jennifer, who recalled how the little redhead asked Santa for animals every Christmas.

In another side to the terrible tragedy, a private funeral service for Lanza's mother was held in New Hampshire. About two dozen relatives attended. Nancy Lanza was shot multiple times in the head before her son stormed the school. It isn't clear if anyone will come forward to claim Adam Lanza's body.

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