With their backs turned against evil, a group of religious leaders from various Back Bay places of worship stood on Boylston Street and led a brief interfaith service at the Marathon bombings memorial site Sunday.
“This street has been defiled,” said Rabbi Howard Berman of the Central Reform Temple in Boston. “We came to reclaim it.”
Berman as well as leaders from the Old South Church, which remains closed and within the crime scene, spoke about healing and led more than 100 people at the makeshift memorial in song Sunday afternoon.
The people at the site sang, “Let There Be Peace” and “America the Beautiful.”
For Sandy Steen of Boston, the interfaith service was a chance to heal. She wore her 2013 Marathon volunteer jacket, which she got for helping to set up the pre-race pasta dinner, to the service.
“It was a very moving service,” Steen said. “People need to come together, they need help healing and finding some peace and sense of closure.”
Berman said the turnout and participation for the Boylston Street service helped lift the sprits of those leading it.
“For all of us it’s just an affirmation that we’ve all been through this together and we will get through this together,” he said.
Earlier Sunday, Cardinal Sean O’Malley led a Mass at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in the South End where he and churchgoers prayed for the victims and for those who helped the injured.
“This past week we have experienced a surge in civic awareness and sense of community. It has been inspiring to see the generous and at times heroic responses to the Patriots Day violence. Our challenge is to keep this spirit of community alive going forward,” O’Malley said in his homily.
Follow Michael Naughton on Twitter @metrobosmike.