BOSTON (AP) — The youngest victim of the Boston Marathon bombings was honored Sunday at a Roman Catholic Mass on what would have been his ninth birthday.
The family of Martin Richard was joined by hundreds of people from Boston and the region in Sunday’s tribute at St. Ann Parish in Boston’s Dorchester neighborhood. The congregation cheered as Martin’s 7-year-old sister, Jane, who lost a leg in the explosion, wheeled herself up the center aisle with the pastor.
Martin’s father, Bill Richard, described his son as an outstanding and curious student who loved astronomy, math and solving complicated problems, according to The Dorchester Reporter.
Bill Richard, wearing a peace symbol button, said Martin helped younger students and settled disputes and enjoyed playing and winning at Monopoly.
Martin was one of three people killed in the April 15 bombings. More than 260 others were hurt, including most of Martin’s family.
His mother, Denise, suffered a head injury and lost vision in an eye. His father received shrapnel wounds and burns to his legs and suffered hearing loss. The family’s eldest child, Henry, was unharmed.
The Rev. Sean Connor spoke with Jane as they sat on the altar, surrounded by about 100 other youngsters, many of them friends and classmates. He recalled that Jane’s first words to him when he visited her at the hospital were, “Where have you been? You have to pray.”
The two prayed for the nurses, doctors and first responders and for Martin. Connor said Jane told him that Martin “lives in my heart.”
He advised the children to read the rosary and pray at home with their parents to help ease the pain of Martin’s loss.
“You teach your moms and dads to laugh and to love, and that makes hope real for us,” he said.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.