The scene this morning outside a school in Kazan, Russia, where there was a terrible school shooting this morning that took the lives of many children

    “Kazan Catholics cry and pray for the victims, the injured and their families.” — Father Andrey Startsev, rector of the Catholic Church in Kazan, upon hearing the news that eight children and a teacher had been shot and killed by a lone gunman in a school in Kazan, Russia, this morning

    “It is difficult to find the words to express the excruciating pain of the loss experienced by parents who have lost their children.” —Patriarch Kirill, head of the Russian Orthodox Church, also upon hearing the news of the shooting. Kazan, capital of Tatarstan, is a city 600 miles due east of Moscow. It is a city known for the peaceful relations between the people of the city, half of whom are Russian Orthodox Christians and half Tatar Muslims. Kirill is scheduled to preside over a ceremony on July 21 in Kazan for the dedication of a new cathedral in the city to house the precious icon of Our Lady of Kazan. The icon was found in Kazan in 1579. It was honored throughout Russia for more than 300 years, until just before the Communist Revolution in 1917. It was lost to Russia for nearly a century, then came back to Russia on August 28, 2004, sent by Pope John Paul II shortly before his death on April 2, 2005. The icon depicts Mary and the Child Jesus.

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