Pope offers condolences to survivors of Connecticut mass shooting
'Let us dedicate ourselves more fervently to prayer and to acts of peace,' Benedict says
During his Sunday address to the faithful at St. Peter's Square in Vatican City, Pope Benedict XVI spoke of his deep sadness at the Connecticut school shooting that left more than two dozen adults and children dead.
'I assure the families of the victims, especially those who lost a child, of my closeness in prayer. May the God of consolation touch their hearts and ease their pain,' Pope Benedict said this weekend.
"I was deeply saddened by Friday's senseless violence in Newtown, Connecticut," Pope Benedict told the crowd.
"I assure the families of the victims, especially those who lost a child, of my closeness in prayer. May the God of consolation touch their hearts and ease their pain.
"During this Advent Season, let us dedicate ourselves more fervently to prayer and to acts of peace. Upon those affected by this tragedy, and upon each of you, I invoke God's abundant blessings!"
Last week's massacre in Connecticut was the second deadliest school shooting in U.S. history. Crying children filled the parking lot as parents rushed to the school to aid survivors.
The pontiff conveyed his "heartfelt grief" through Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone on Saturday.
"In the aftermath of this senseless tragedy, he asks God our Father to console all those who mourn and to sustain the entire community with the spiritual strength which triumphs over violence by the power of forgiveness, hope and reconciling love," Bertone said.
Little by little, authorities are piecing together a portrait of the crazed gunman who ended his spree with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. It has been confirmed that Lanza at one time attended the Sandy Hook Elementary School, the scene of the mass killing.
Lanza shot some of his child victims as many as 11 times, and it became readily apparent that he had enough weaponry and ammunition to kill many other people.
Lanza's parents were divorced, and he lived with his mother, who home-schooled him for part of his childhood. Lanza killed his mother first, and used her guns in the attack upon the school.
Classmates remember him as shy, toting a black briefcase to high school. He enrolled in Western Connecticut State University in Danbury at the age of 16, where he maintained a solid 3.26 grade-point average.
Lanza first killed his mother, reportedly an avid gun enthusiast, with her own gun and then took multiple weapons with him as he drove to the school in her car.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Pope, Connecticut, mass shooting, Adam Lanza, weapons
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