Sikh community holds prayer, candlelight vigil for Sandy Hook victims

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BROOKFIELD -- After going through the heartbreak of a mass shooting in August, the Sikh community in Southeastern Wisconsin opened its doors and arms for anyone who wanted to pray for the victims in Newtown, CT.

"It was important for us because our wounds are still fresh. We are still healing. And we wanted those people to know that we feel their pain. We’ve been through this. And we want to pray for them," Gurcharan Singh Grewal, the temple's president said. "And we want to convey to them the message that we’re not alone. The whole nation is with you. So hang tough, pray and we will get over it."

Saturday night, the Sikh Temple in Brookfield welcomed anyone in the community to join them in a prayer service and candle light vigil for the 26 victims of the deadly shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Jane Marie Bradish, a catholic nun and high school teacher, decided to join the prayer service just 30 minutes before it began.

"I thought you know, this is something that I could do other than staying at home or just being helpless," Bradish said. "This could have very easily been my school. And the best way, the best thing I can do right now is pray and to join other people in doing that."

The feeling was similar for Yvette Tafoya who brought her young grandson along.

"I said I’m bringing him out here and we’re going to come to the prayer service and give my prayers to all those families."

The service opens with a "kirten", or hymns, from their holy scripture called the Guru Granth Sahib. This was in the memory of the children and the teachers who lost their lives in the shooting.

"They were just innocent young children. They had a lot to do with their life here and their life just got lost too early. It should not happen at a place at all. It should not happen anywhere at all, but I think it was the worst thing to happen in an elementary school," Grewal said.

After the hymns, the dozens of people gathered light candles and then joined together for a meal.

"It’s all about compassion and caring for others. Peace. No violence and I just think the violence has to stop," Tafoya added. "For them to open their doors to all of us is miraculous. It’s like everyone can get together and all come together."

"It’s important that we come together and we pray and we offer support," Bradish said.

The Sikh community knows first hand how devastating a mass shooting can be. On August 5, 2012 a man burst into the Sikh Temple of Oak Creek killing 6 people. That is why they wanted to let the people of Newtown know that they stand with them and understand their plight.

"We should love each other. We should be peaceful, respect each other and pray for each other and support each other. So that’s what we’re trying to convey," Grewal said.

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