Lewiston Remembers Shooting Victims – ‘Always Part of our Hearts’
Over 1,000 people including Maine Governor Janet Mills and the Maine congressional delegation honored the 18 victims of the Wednesday night's shooting, holding candles and listening to words of hope.
Leaders from several faiths addressed the crowd inside and outside the Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul during Sunday night's One Lewiston Community Vigil. Pictures of each victim were placed at the front of the church.
Roman Catholic Bishop Robert Deeley of Portland read a letter from Pope Francis, who wrote that evil can overcome good, according to coverage of the vigil by the Sun Journal.
The pontiff in his message wrote he was "deeply saddened to learn of the terrible loss of life resulting from the mass shooting in Lewiston, and he expresses his spiritual closeness to all those suffering from this unspeakable tragedy, especially the families who lost loved ones,” according to the Catholic News Agency.
The Reverend Gary Bragg of the Southern Baptist Church in Lewiston encouraged those in the crowd to greet others by saying “I am so glad you are here”, and making an offer to help.
Lewiston will not only emerge stronger from the events of the past week, but "Lewiston stronger" because of the shared tragedy, according to the Rev. Todd Little from the First United Pentecostal Church.
"We are a diverse community who now have the bond of shared brokenness, worry, fear and loss," Little said from the pulpit of the church filled to capacity for the vigil. Large TV screens were set up outside the church.
The deaf community, which lost four members in the shooting, was also represented at the vigil by Kevin Bohlin, who used American Sign Language to deliver his message. He asked everyone to raise their hands and sign "I love you," according to NPR coverage of the vigil.
While the full Maine congressional delegation and the governor were at the service, they did not speak to the crowd.
The road to normalcy will begin Monday for many, with schools resuming classes and government offices open again.
Thousands Attend Powerful Lewiston Vigil
Gallery Credit: Lizzy Snyder
Learn About the Victims of the Lewiston, Maine Shooting
Gallery Credit: Dan Alexander