— NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) — A single bell tolled Thursday at the Connecticut funeral of a 6-year-old girl killed by a gunman at her elementary school, while a cardinal in New York compared a slain teacher to Jesus for giving up her life to protect others.
In Newtown, the site of the shooting rampage, grim-faced mourners hurried through the packed parking lot of St. Rose of Lima Church to attend the funeral Mass for 6-year-old Catherine Hubbard.
Catherine's family said in her obituary that she would be remembered for her passion for animals and her constant smile.
Catherine was among the 20 students and six teachers killed when Adam Lanza, armed with a military-style assault rifle, broke into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown on Dec. 14 and opened fire. Lanza killed his mother at her home before the attack and committed suicide at the school as police closed in.
Funerals were also scheduled in Connecticut on Thursday for 7-year-old Grace McDonnell and 6-year-olds Benjamin Andrew Wheeler, Jesse Lewis and Allison Wyatt, and a memorial was held for teacher Lauren Gabrielle Rousseau.
In New York, Cardinal Timothy Dolan told mourners at the funeral of 52-year-old Anne Marie Murphy that the teacher "brought together a community, a nation, a world, now awed by her own life and death."
Murphy's father, Hugh McGowan, said authorities told him that she died trying to protect her young pupils. Her body was found covering a group of children's bodies as if to shield them, McGowan said.
Dolan underscored her sacrifice.
"Like Jesus, Annie laid down her life for her friends," Dolan said. "Like Jesus, Annie's life and death brings light, truth, goodness and love to a world often shrouded in darkness, evil, selfishness and death."