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“We were just spreading some cheer, trying to make the situation a little better,” Michelle McAloon said.
“They all smiled, and they all cried a little,” she said of the victims’ families.
“Everybody said we are doing it again next year,” Dan McAloon said of the carolers. “It’s going to become a tradition.”
The McAloons and Barry were among those in an overflow crowd that attended Christmas Eve Mass on Monday night at Saint Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church, which held its biggest service at the high school auditorium.
Nine families from the parish lost someone in the shooting, and at least four of those families came to the big Christmas Eve Mass, Monsignor Robert Weiss said.
“Everything is just a lot more somber. Some people are just going through the motions because it’s Christmas. Others are trying to make it special,” Weiss said after the service.
“There is reason to celebrate. Hopefully when people start to see their extended families, or people from outside of Newtown, or even go out of town, they will be able to. You can’t get away from it in this town,” he said.
Christmas Eve Mass featured a pageant that told the Christian story of Jesus’ birth. One of the more poignant moments came when people applauded a group of two dozen little girls dressed as angels. They all knew shooting victim Olivia Engel, 6, was supposed to be among them.
“I highly recommend that before you rip open those gifts, say a prayer for those children,” Weiss told parishioners. “Then give your own children a hug.”