Knights of Columbus aid ongoing response to Newtown shooting

Newtown, Conn., Oct 2, 2013 / 02:18 am (CNA/EWTN News).- St. Rose of Lima Catholic Parish of Newtown, Conn., received a $100,000 gift from the Knights of Columbus to support its ongoing response to the December 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.

“In the 24-hour news cycle, we often read or see the news, are affected for a time, and then quickly move on,” Supreme Knight Carl Anderson said Sept. 30. “But the people of Newtown could not simply ‘move on,’ and our gift and award are meant to acknowledge that the work of Monsignor Weiss and the St. Rose of Lima community continues.”

St. Rose of Lima is the only Catholic parish in Newtown.

On Dec. 14, a gunman killed 20 elementary school students and six faculty and staff at Sandy Hook Elementary School after killing his own mother. He then took his own life.

Priests from St. Rose of Lima quickly arrived at the school to comfort victims and their relatives.

Anderson presented the Knights of Columbus’ gift after an evening Mass at the church Sept. 30. “You have made such an extraordinary witness of love, hope, and faith,” he told the parish.

Bishop Frank Caggiano of Bridgeport was the main celebrant and homilist for the Mass.

Anderson said that parish pastor Monsignor Robert Weiss continues to help the families who lost loved ones and helps with many community projects and gifts for them.

Msgr. Weiss received the Knights of Columbus’ first ever Caritas Award in August at the knights’ Supreme Convention in San Antonio. The award is intended to recognize “exemplary works of charity.”

At the presentation of the award, Anderson paraphrased Pope Francis and said the priest was able “to sympathize with the brokenness of others without losing his own strength and identity.” Anderson said this was “no easy task under the circumstances.”

Newtown’s St. Virgilius Knights of Columbus Council, which is based at the parish, also received a Caritas Award. The council established a program that asked other Catholics to say at least three Hail Marys for the shooting victims and their families, the first responders and teachers, and the Newtown community. More than 105,000 people took part in the project and offered over 3.25 million prayers.

Council members served as ushers at eight children’s funerals and helped the parish with logistical challenges in responding to the disaster.

The parish has ongoing programs related to the shooting.

The Knights of Columbus Board of Directors voted earlier this year to create the Caritas Award, which will be awarded to future recipients when merited.

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