Sikh Temple hosts three-day prayer service for Newtown victims

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OAK CREEK -- Members of the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin in Oak Creek this weekend launched a massive prayer service in honor of those killed in the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

20-year-old Adam Lanza took guns belonging to his mother, Nancy Lanza, and shot her as she slept in her bed. Then he went to Sandy Hook Elementary, where he gunned down 20 children and six staff members before killing himself.

The Sikh Temple in Oak Creek hosted a three-day prayer service for the Newtown, CT shooting victims -- the same type of prayer service held following the Sikh Temple shooting back on August 5th, 2012. That shooting left six dead and three critically wounded.

The three-day prayer service is dedicated to those who died in the shooting in Connecticut, and meant to ask for peace for those souls and strength for their families and loved ones to persevere through this trying time.

The prayer service is in remembrance of two Sikh martyrs, ages six and eight who were killed back in 1705.

"We felt it was only appropriate to dedicate this to the Sandy Hook victims who were all around the same age," Sikh Temple member Kanwardeep Singh Kaleka said.

The prayer service involved 72 hours of reading scriptures. Food was served to anyone who came in to the temple, and members were able to meditate and develop unity.

As a father of two and a member of the Sikh Temple, still grieving from the August mass shooting, Jaswinder Singh says the shooting involving several young children in Connecticut hit close to home.

"My prayers go out to those parents who lost their loved one. God help them. It's really painful for everyone," Singh said.

Kanwardeep Singh Kaleka says Sikh Temple members know all too well about coping with tragedy and hopes the prayer service touched hearts.

"We wanted to bring the community together to really dedicate that energy. We're hoping it helps build and strengthen the community, and I mean community in the global sense," Kaleka said.

Kaleka said the service was a moment of reflection and hopes it will be a moment for growth as a society.

"Hopefully something bigger, and we as a society can move forward and change the world for a better place, and basically find inspiration from this tragedy -- similar to how our faith has found inspiration from those two martyrs," Kaleka said.

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