A Newtown, Conn. priest who accompanied police when they notified parents that they had lost their children in Friday's massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary school said that some of the parents asked officials about their kids' final moments.
"They were wondering, did the child know what was happening? Were they afraid? Did they see something coming?" Rev. Robert Weiss, the pastor of St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church, told Savannah Guthrie on Saturday's "Today" show. "And of course no one can answer those quesitons because there are no survivors. So these parents are left with those unanswered questions in addition to just why this had to happen? Why to their child?"
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Some of the victims of Friday's shooting -- which left 20 children and 8 adults, including the gunman, Adam Lanza, dead -- were parishoners at St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church. The church was open throughout the evening on Friday as a space for members of the community to "pray for and support the families directly affected" by the massacre, according to the church's website. Religious classes on Sunday have been canceled.
Rev. Weiss added that one mother told him that her daughter was supposed to play an angel in a Christmas pageant next week, while another mother had been excited that her son was making his first holy communion this year.
"It was really an amazing time for parents to bring back memories," Rev. Weiss told Guthrie.
"The emotions yesterday were just overwhelming," he added. "I dont know if the reality has really settled in yet."
Weis said that the community has come together to support one another.
"It was a lot of hugging, a lot of crying, a lot of praying and a lot of just being silent."
Friday's shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School is the second deadliest mass shooting in American history, the Associated Press notes. In 2007, 33 people -- including the gunman -- were killed at Virginia Tech University.
Police said that Lanza's motive for the shooting remains unclear. A law enforcement official told the Associated Press that he may have had a personality disorder, and the AP notes that classmates called him "remote."
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