The Boston Marathon is a deep and abiding building block of Boston culture and Boston life. I cannot number how many I have watched either at the finish line or near Boston College where I lived for many years. The oldest marathon in existence (Bostonians love to have the oldest of anything), it is just “part of life” in that city. Yesterday a part of the life of Boston was shattered. Several lost their lives. Far too many others lost limbs and had other injuries. All of us there, here, across our nation and indeed the world, lost another outpost of sportsmanship, mutual respect and human sharing that builds up our lives and strengthens the bonds of common good.

Members of my family, none of whom were there, were nonetheless shocked and deeply saddened by the tragedy. So many familiar places of my own youth reminded me of our villages and communities here on Long Island after September 11. I know all of us were one in prayer for the victims of yesterday’s attack on Boston and on our civilization. I thank you all personally, and I applaud the extraordinary brave men and women who went into action from the Police, the Fire Department, the medics and the hospitals that I know so well.

St. Paul constantly reminds us that we overcome evil with good. The Lord calls all of us to live honorable lives, respecting one another, caring for one another, reaching out to one another and bearing witness to the truth that the One who rose from the dead has conquered sin and death. He is our peace. With His grace, we will overcome violence by lives of good as peacemakers in our communities, the nation and the world.

I am sharing this simple message with my brother, Cardinal Sean O’Malley, as a message of prayer and solidarity of this Church of Rockville Centre with all our brothers and sisters in the Archdiocese of Boston and all their fellow citizens affected by this horrific and destructive act.