Hours before a memorial service Wednesday for the victims of one of the state's worst mass murders, Sullivan sat, paper and pen in hand, and contemplated the massive task before him.
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He thought back to the countless Masses he's presided over in his 47 years as a priest, and then he offered what he could to the more than a thousand people who packed St. Margaret Mary Church in South Windsor.
He mentioned the dead by name:
Edwin Kennison, Jr.
"Nothing can prepare us for this," Sullivan told those packed into the sanctuary, which at times reverberated with cries.
But he said, "This darkness would not have the last say."
God, he continued, "would never give us a cross that we're not strong enough to handle."
But even he knew that finding strength in such a tragedy would be difficult for those trying to make sense of the sudden and senseless deaths of fathers, brothers, colleagues and friends.
One of the victims, Craig Pepin, was also a parishioner at St. Margaret Mary Church.