BRAINTREE, Mass. — On the 10th anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing, Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley reflected on the impact the event had on the victims, survivors, first responders and what must be done to prevent such acts of violence.
“Ten years removed from that horrific day, the pain and suffering we witnessed does not easily subside,” he said.
On April 15, 2013, as people participated in the marathon on Patriots Day, two bombs went off near the finish line on Boylston Street in Boston. Hundreds were injured, and three people were killed at the time: Martin Richard, 8, Krystle Campbell, 29, and Lingzi Lu, 23.
The bombers, brothers Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, also killed MIT Police Officer Sean Collier, 27, while evading the police in the days after the attack. Additionally, a Boston police officer, Sgt. Dennis Simmonds, suffered a head injury in a firefight with the fugitives, and died a year later. He was 28.
Tamerlan, 26, died of injuries he suffered during a gun battle with police. He also sustained injuries when his younger brother hit him with a car as he fled. Dzhokhar, now 29, was convicted April 8, 2015, on 30 charges stemming from the bombings and was sentenced to death. A federal appeals court overturned his death sentence, but the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated it in March 2022.
In his statement, Cardinal O’Malley said of the five victims, “We will never forget them. Each of their lives was a unique expression of love, concern for others, and courage. They will remain in our prayers as will their loved ones who continue to mourn their loss.”
Boston’s cardinal said that the season of Easter is a reminder “that in the midst of the darkness of this tragedy we turn to the light of Jesus Christ. We put our faith and trust in the Lord despite the senseless violence of that day.”
He said those who were injured “have inspired us with their courage and determination to not let hate deter them from living their lives.” Some of them continue to run the marathon each year. Cardinal O’Malley called this “a sign of hope and the resiliency of the human spirit.”
He also expressed gratitude to the first responders, “who selflessly charged into danger to rescue the injured and bring aid and comfort to all who were impacted. They exemplified the best of humanity.”
The cardinal noted the “increasingly senseless violent acts” taking place in the world, claiming the lives of innocent people, including children. He called upon leaders to “demonstrate the courage to find consensus and enact policies” for gun safety and mental health programs, “to save lives and address the underlying causes of this violence.”
“Each of us can contribute to these challenges through thoughtful consideration of how we talk to and about each other,” Cardinal O’Malley said.
He closed by quoting Pope Francis, who has said that “the more we feel our hearts are agitated, the more we sense we are nervous, impatient, angry inside, the more we need to ask the Lord for the Spirit of peace.” The pope added, “Let us also ask this for those who live next to us, for those we meet each day, and for the leaders of nations.”
“Let us honor the memory of Martin, Krystle, Lingzi, Sean and Dennis by asking the Lord for this gift of peace during these challenging days,” Cardinal O’Malley concluded.