.- A priest who offered consolation to passers-by after the explosion at the Boston Marathon said that the event left him with the impression that evil can only be properly understood in the light of Christ’s passion and resurrection.
“So many people are looking at what happened, trying to make sense of it,” Father Tom Carzon of the Oblates of the Virgin Mary told CNA on April 16. “We can figure out where it was made and how it was made and who did it, but even with all that information it never makes sense.”
However, after spending the afternoon consoling those affected by the attack, he remarked: “the Cross and Resurrection, this is the story that does make sense.”
On the afternoon of April 15, two bombs exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing three people and injuring more than 170 others. The FBI is currently investigating the explosions to find the motives and perpetrators.
Shortly after he heard the two explosions and saw police and emergency vehicles pass by, Fr. Carzon walked the few blocks from St. Clement Eucharistic Shrine, where his order has offered perpetual adoration since 1935, to the finish line of the Boston Marathon to see if he could be of any help.
Police had already established a perimeter and were sending people away “stunned and confused,” the priest said.
He returned to the shrine where he and a handful of other priests set up a table on the sidewalk and offered water, food and an opportunity to talk for anyone who walked by.
Many of those who came by were “disoriented, confused or lost,” Fr. Carzon said, “so we just greeted people that came by, helping them or giving out some directions.”
“Some people really needed to unload their story and this was a time and a place where they could do that,” he continued. “That’s really mostly what we offered, the opportunity for people to tell their story.”
As Fr. Carzon recalled the day, he said he was reminded of the story of Christ meeting some disciples walking on the road to Emmaus after the Crucifixion.
“They were walking away and they were traumatized and saddened and discouraged and then the stranger was walking with them asking them, ‘What are you talking about?’”
The priest said that in this account, Jesus is prompting the men to share their story and “pour out their sadness,” even though he already knows the details.
“That image really is what stays with me,” Fr. Carzon said, “the experience yesterday of Jesus walking with us in our pain, in our sadness, kind of drawing out stories from us.”
As Boston begins to recover from the bombing, Fr. Carzon observed, “there is a whole city full of people who have something they need to tell; maybe they don’t even know they need to tell it.”
He added that once the victims had shared their pain, he would ask them if they would like to pray or if they even prayed at all.
“There were a couple people who just prayed there on the street,” he said. “How often do you stand and hold someone’s hand and pray on the sidewalk?”
Even though he shared just a few moments with each person, he said it was necessary “to step out” and “be present outside the doors of the church” and “on the street” to help others.
From there, Fr. Carzon said he hoped he and the other priests could perhaps “invite some people even closer to Jesus” in the Eucharist, recognizing him as “the source of real healing.”