(MCT) — NEWTOWN, Conn. — People in this idyllic New England town returned Thursday to the church that has served as the centerpiece of its grief and mourned another of the town’s young victims killed last week at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
In what has become a tragic daily occurrence this week, people gathered at St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church for a funeral, this time for Catherine Violet Hubbard, 6. She was one of the 20 first-graders killed Friday morning when a gunman invaded their classroom area at the school.
In her obituary, the Hubbard family said Catherine would be remembered for her passion for animals and her constant smile.
Hundreds of people lined up outside Newtown’s sole funeral home and nearby churches as the town struggled through another day of services to remember victims of the massacre.
As hearses passed along Main Street, pedestrians stopped in their tracks, still appearing in shock over the crime. Mourners in black dabbed at their eyes, and some crossed directly from the funeral home to the Town Hall, to sit with grief counselors inside or to gaze at the mounting pile of sympathy cards, candles and stuffed animals in the plaza outside the building.
“There is no answer to this,” said Janet Bryant, who lives in nearby Roxbury and was standing near the Honan Funeral Home with her dog, Bandit.
“How will they deal with it?” she wondered aloud to herself. “I suppose they each will deal with it in a way that brings them comfort, even though there is no comfort.”
Nearby, Trinity Episcopal Church on Main Street was filled to capacity for the funeral of Benjamin Wheeler, also 6. The service for a child described as a lighthouse buff, budding musician and Beatles fan included a rendition of “Here Comes the Sun” and the hymn “Amazing Grace.”
Benjamin’s five uncles acted as pallbearers. About two dozen Boy Scout leaders lined the front pathway to the church in honor of the former Cub Scout.
The outpouring of grief this week has broken through the emotional barriers of even the most hardened. In Danbury, so many people showed up to remember teacher Lauren Rousseau on Thursday that they could not all fit inside the church where her service was held. The school psychologist, Mary J. Sherlach, was being remembered at a service in Trumbull.
Along with the 20 children, Adam Lanza killed six adults at the school, including teacher Anne Marie Murphy, whose funeral was held in Katonah, N.Y. Murphy, 52, a special education teacher, tried to protect her pupils during the rampage.
The shooter’s mother, Nancy Lanza, who was killed before the slaughter at the school, was memorialized Thursday in a private New Hampshire ceremony.
(Susman reported from Newtown, Muskal from Los Angeles.)