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Our Prayers and Deepest Sympathy Extend to the Entire Community in Newton, Connecticut, U.S.A.

NEWTOWN, Conn. — A vigil Friday night for the victims of a school massacre in western Connecticut brought out hundreds of community members, including some parents who were struggling with mixed emotions after their own children survived the rampage.

With the church filled to capacity, hundreds spilled outside, some of them holding hands in circles and saying prayers. Others lit prayer candles and sang "Silent Night."

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy was among the speakers at the service inside the St. Rose of Lima Roman Catholic church.

"Many of us today and in the coming days will rely on what we have been taught and what we believe, that there is faith for a reason," Malloy said.

The residents were gathered to mourn those killed Friday, when a man killed his mother in their home and then opened fire inside the elementary school where she taught, massacring 26 people, including 20 children, as youngsters cowered in fear to the sound of gunshots reverberating through the building and screams echoing over the intercom.

The 20-year-old killer, carrying at least two handguns, committed suicide at the school, bringing the death toll to 28, authorities said.

At the vigil, the priest said the altar holds 26 candles, all of which were lit in memory of the victims. Lyrics of the last hymn of the ceremony rang out: "I will raise him up on eagle's wings."

The parish priest, Robert Weiss, said he spent much of Friday with victims of the families but he could not give them more answers about what happened.

Read the original article on MSN.

Strategies for talking with your kids about the bad stuff that happens in the world.

By Sasha Emmon 

With the tragic story of a mass shooting in Connecticut flashing on the news this morning, parents may find themselves awkwardly fielding questions from their kids. How do you explain that scary events do occur while still making your children feel safe?

We talked to Dr. Paul Coleman, author of How to Say It to Your Child When Bad Things Happen, to find out the best ways to talk to kids about disturbing images and events.

Wait until they're older. Until around age 7, Dr. Coleman suggests only addressing the tough stuff if kids bring it up first. "They might see it on TV or hear about it at school (or heaven forbid even witness it), and then you have to deal with it. But younger children might not be able to handle it well, says Dr. Coleman.

Keep it black and white. Yes, the world can be a cruel place, but little kids, well, can't handle the truth."Younger kids need to be reassured that this isn't happening to them and won't happen to them," says Dr. Coleman. Parents may feel like they're lying, since no one can ever be 100% sure of what the future holds, but probability estimates are not something small kids can grasp, and won't comfort them.

Ask questions. Don't assume you know how they feel. Instead, get at their understanding of what happened. "They might be afraid -- or just curious. You have to ascertain that by asking things like 'What did you hear? What do you think?'" says Dr. Coleman. "If they are scared, ask what they're afraid of - don't assume you know. They could be using twisted logic, like they see a building collapse on TV and think it's Mommy's office building. Correct any misconceptions, and then offer assurance."

Don't label feelings as wrong. Let them know that their feelings make sense, and that it's ok to feel whatever they're feeling. Never make them feel bad about being scared.

Use it as a teaching moment. Talking about bad things can lead to discussions about how to help others, and gives parents an opportunity to model compassion. Talk about donating to a relief organization, or make the message even more personal. "You can say, 'It makes me think of Mrs. Smith in a wheelchair down the road - maybe we should make her a pot roast,'" says Dr. Coleman.

When Tragedy Affects Someone Your Kids Know

Sometimes tragedy strikes closer to home, and there's no way to shield your kids. If you're dealing with the death of a friend or family member, be truthful about it, but offer some separation between what happened and what they fear might happen. "Say 'Grandma was very old and very sick, but I'm not,'" says Dr. Coleman. "Distinguish yourself clearly from that person so your child can rest comfortably knowing Mommy's not going anywhere."

©Parenting

“Perhaps we cannot prevent this world from being a world in which children are tortured. But we can reduce the number of tortured children” said Albert Camus, Nobel Laureate, at a Dominican monastery in 1948. He called on our responsibility as human beings “if not to reduce evil, at least not to add to it” and “to refuse to consent to conditions which torture innocents.” It is time for a critical mass of Americans to refuse to consent to the killing of children by gun violence. Read more at the Children’s Defense Fund website.