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Valley candlelight vigil honors Sandy Hook victims

Sandy Hook Vigil

PALM DESERT, Calif. - "The holidays were nice but touched with a very sad note, the loss of students and staff at Sandy Hook," Kate Pierattoni of Palm Desert.

For Pierattoni, a retired school teacher who was raised in Connecticut, the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre hit close to home. Marking two weeks since the tragic shooting, she and Coachella Valley neighbors gathered for a candlelight vigil on Friday night, the Day of Holy Innocents.

"At a time when it's supposed to be about happiness and celebration, a lot of people are coming to us with intense pain who, need healing and prayer as they remember people who died violently," said Rev. Lane Hensley of St. Margaret's Episcopal Church.

The vigil at St. Margaret's Episcopal Church in Palm Desert honored and remembered the names and faces of the 26 Sandy Hook victims.

"That's really hard to accept. I came here to pray for them and for all of us. To try to make sense of it if it's possible," said Pierattoni.

Hensley said it was an opportunity to come together, pray, seek inspiration for a better future and change.

"If we don't change who we are, the way we behave, teach our children, then we have not honored their loss," said Hensley.

The church also collected toys and small stuffed animals in remembrance, which will be donated to local kids in need.

"We want signs of God's love and our love in the Coachella Valley," said Hensley.

It was a night of reflection and to "Try to move on and forgive, and hope it won't happen again. Do what we can so it doesn't happen again," said Pierattoni.

This weekend Valley boxing champ Randy Caballero will host a memorial at the Coachella Valley Boxing Club in Coachella on Saturday. There will be candles, prayers, and balloons released. The event starts at 9 a.m.

The event is free to attend. All donations collected will ben sent to the families in Newtown affected by the tragedy.

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