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placeholder MAY 6, 2013   •   VOL. 51, NO. 9   •   Oakland, CA
Parish raises $2,500 for injured youth

Still deeply shaken by the tragic bombings April 15 at the Boston Marathon, members of St. Catherine of Siena Parish in Martinez quickly collected more than $2,500 for a young parishioner who was seriously injured by the blasts.

Aaron Hern, and his family, returned to Martinez on April 30, a day before the youth's 12th birthday. Aaron had undergone two surgeries to repair leg injuries caused by the explosion of one of two bombs near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. The bombings killed three and wounded nearly 200 others.

"We continue to pray for Aaron and the Hern family," said Deacon Alberto Dizon of St. Catherine of Siena Parish, where Aaron is an altar server. Dizon noted that the parish is also planning a "Welcome Home" event for the Hern family. The event is also designed to collect funds from local donors.

While their parish family prayed for them in Martinez, the Herns also received spiritual support from clergy in the Boston area. Father Robert Nee (in residence at St. John the Evangelist Parish in Cambridge, Massachusetts) "came by a number of times to see Aaron and his family as did other members of the chaplain staff at Boston Children's Hospital," said Sandra Hall, a close friend of the Herns who assumed responsibility as the family's representative. Hall was part of a group of family and friends who went to Boston to encourage Aaron's mother, Katherine, who ran in the marathon.

During their stay in Boston the group from Martinez, including Aaron's dad, Alan, and his grandmother, Cathy Hern, attended a liturgy presided by Cardinal Sean O'Malley at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross. A number of first responders and dignitaries were also at the Mass.

Members of the group also attended a vigil at the bomb site where they met Father John Unni of St. Cecilia's Parish, the parish church in that area. "I told him we were all from St. Catherine's in Martinez," Hall said. "The candlelight vigil was lovely, well-attended and very emotional."

Now that the Hern family is back home they will be "trying to get back to their normal life," Hall said.

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