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Arizona Shooting: Friends, Strangers Seek Comfort at Memorial Mass

TUCSON, Ariz. (CBS/AP) Some of the hundreds of mourners who gathered at Tucson's St. Odilia Catholic Church Tuesday night knew the victims of the Arizona shooting rampage that took the lives of six people, but many had no connection with them.

All were there looking for comfort and peace.

PICTURES: Arizona Shooting Victims

College student Lauren DeJonghe attended the service with her mother. She had no connection to any of the victims but said that mattered little in terms of how the tragedy had affected her and the community in which she was born and raised.

"Everyone was affected one way or another," the 21-year-old said. "Your heart just hurts."

St. Odilia was the church of 9-year-old victim Christina Taylor Green, and her mother sat in the front pew as nine girls, some about Christina's age, walked toward the altar and stood singing "Amazing Grace."

As he began his mass, Bishop Gerald Kicanas noted that Christina herself had once sung with the choir, and "I know she is singing with us tonight."

Kicanas urged the more than 400 people in attendance to pray not only for the victims but for an end to violence, division and destructive words and actions.

"God wills that we resist evil. That we live with integrity. That we speak and act with civility and respect," he said. "Everyone in our community is in grief. We are in tears. We are pained and concerned about what took place. We are a community questioning, struggling, wondering how such violence could happen."

Kathleen Hunter, a 62-year-old retiree, said she was praying for her friend, Susan Hileman, the neighbor who took Christina to the event on Saturday because of the girl's interest in politics. Hileman, her husband has said, was holding hands with Christina when gunshots rang out. Hileman was shot three times but is expected to survive.

Hunter said she was comforted by the bishop's words and by a sense of togetherness that she got from the Mass. 60-year-old Victoria Vaughan agreed saying that even though she didn't know any of the victims, she attended because she just wanted to feel a part of the community.

"It's really hard to sit at home and watch it on TV. It's so isolating," Vaughan said. "I think it's important for people to come together and to try and dwell on peace and kindness."


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