Following are statements issued by Westport religious leaders in reaction to the mass shooting Friday at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown:
"Our hearts are broken today. There's no sense, no logic, to violence. It yanks the rug out from underneath our feet. It leaves us disoriented and breathless. We look for our loved ones. We hug our children tighter. We weep.
"In the midst of today's pain and confusion, I've been holding on to the promise, so vivid during this Advent season, that God shows up right in the middle of the dark and despair. Born in a barn, then carried to Egypt with his parents to escape another slaughter of innocents, God-in-Christ has been to the painful, ugly places.
"So today, I know: God's heart is breaking, too. God is weeping -- for the children, for teachers and first responders, for the shooter. God weeps with us, abides with us, holds together all the broken pieces. Tonight, I pray that God will wrap us in love and give us the strength to lend comfort to those who are lost in grief."
--- Rev. Alison Patton, senior minister, Saugatuck Congregational Church
"We are all shocked and saddened by today's tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown.
"Words cannot express the depth of the pain that the families of the victims must be experiencing today. Our hearts and prayers go out to them."
--- Rabbi Jeremy Wiederhorn of the Conservative Synagogue of Westport, Weston and Wilton, and the chairman of the Interfaith Clergy Association of Westport and Weston
"This weekend we shall display our colors in the sanctuary and keep our Pascal Candle burning all in memory of the 20 children and their teachers who were killed Friday morning.
"Our hearts join with our President, Governor, the Sandy Hook School community, parents, siblings, grandparents, and Msgr. Robert Weiss, pastor of St. Rose, Newtown, who baptized many of the children. We shall pray at each Mass this weekend and the parish will, in due time, communicate with the Sand Hook School community, the families of the deceased and St. Rose Parish (in our Diocese) expressing our sympathy and promising our continued prayers.
"May their good and innocent souls rest in peace."
"In the face of the Sandy Hook tragedy, our church is open for prayer and meditation during daylight hours, as always, but especially so at this time. If pastoral care is sought, please telephone the parish office at 203/227.0827 to be put in touch with a clergy person.
"There will be a candlelight prayer vigil for the Sandy Hook victims here in Westport this Sunday at 4:00 p.m. at Veterans' Green, 110 Myrtle Ave., across from Town Hall.
"It may well be possible for our parishioners to attend the vigil for a few minutes and then come along to Christmas Lessons and Carols which begins at 5:00 p.m. -- and so enfold this current horror into the timeless assurance of God's still-abundant love."