Faced with an unfathomable -- and inexplicable -- tragedy that left 20 first-graders and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown dead last Friday, words to describe the massacre could scarcely come to terms with describing the depth of shock and sorrow the incident provoked.
Yet words give voice to human grief and fears, condolences and concerns, hope and healing. With these words, Fairfield mourned with Newtown, searched for answers and resolved to regain hope:
"I know this has been a difficult time for all of us. This is a time when we look to something more than we have in ourselves."
"Help us to take that anger and turn it into action."
Rev. Charles Allen, chaplain for Fairfield police and fire departments, at Monday night vigil
"There's nothing I can do to change the past. I only hope I can change the future."
Jerry Speno, Sunday night vigil in the Stratfield section of town
"I want to offer a particular word of welcome to our friends who have come from Newtown. This is a remarkable act of faith on your part to be here today. Our hearts have been touched and our lives have been afflicted by the events of the last few days so it's good to be together today to sing praises to God."
"We just came to show our support to Newtown. My mother's a teacher, my sister works in a school in Fairfield. We just want to come together as a community."
Casey Brennan, at Monday night vigil on Sherman Green
"We are all struggling to understand the events in Newtown last Friday. Staff, students and families are trying to come to grips with this unprecedented tragedy so close to home. For many of us, on Dec. 14, 2012, the world changed forever."
Superintendent of Schools David Title
"It actually takes hours and hours" to prepare luminaries. "You can feel the pain writing the names, and putting the sand in the bag, and yet it only took a few minutes for all those lives to be lost."
Unidentified man setting up luminaries for a Monday vigil in Fairfield
"You feel like you have to do something. There's not much you can do, just kind of be here with your neighbors and friends."
Denise Lynch, Sunday night vigil in Stratfield section of town
"Many of them wanted to come here to lift our voices and let this be therapeutic for us as well as bringing music to you. ... It was difficult (to sing), but it was absolutely essential."
Fiona Smith Sutherland, the music minister at Trinity Episcopal Church , Newtown, at a Messiah Sing in Fairfield
"It saddens me very much that something like this happened. I know that it's the exact opposite of what's supposed to be happening" during this holiday season.
Nicholas Stanton, 13, at Friday night vigil in Lincoln Park
"It's unspeakable. It's just tragic. I wish those people peace. It's all of our worst fear."
Stacey Sullivan. at Friday night vigil in Lincoln Park
"It'll never be the same. It's a horrible thing. Twenty children were lost and thousands of lives will never be the same. (Those children who witnessed the shooting of their classmates) will never have their childhoods either. ... I think every single senator or congressman who opposes gun control should be mailed those pictures of the children every day that they're in office."
Unidentified man at reception following Messiah Sing at First Church Congregational
"It's just sad. I just feel for the people."
Louis Toth, Sunday night vigil in Stratfield section of town
"Words cannot express the sadness and horror I feel at the horrendous shootings in Newtown. As father to two young girls, I don't know how life would go on after the murder of my child or one of their teachers. But if community means anything, the children of Sandy Hook Elementary School are our children, as were the children of Columbine, Virginia Tech, and Aurora. I hope and pray that the flood of sympathy and condolences offered to the victims and survivors of this unspeakable crime will ignite the dedication and ingenuity of our nation to end this scourge of violence."
U.S. Rep. Jim Himes
"The entire Fairfield University community shares the enormous grief that is being felt by those affected by the tragedy that took place this morning in Newtown. We have students, faculty, staff and alumni who live in the area and our thoughts and prayers go out to them and the entire community impacted by this devastating event. Although we currently don't have students working at Sandy Hook, we have worked closely with the school in past years, placing graduate students for clinical field experiences there. Members of the Fairfield University staff are assisting the Sandy Hook school community in grief counseling efforts, as well as providing support to any members of the Fairfield University community who may have connections with those involved."
Rev. Jeffrey P. von Arx, S.J., president, Fairfield University
"The news of the horrific school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, in the midst of this joyous Christmas season, is a sad reminder that tragedy can strike at any time. Our hearts go out to all those impacted by this unimaginable occurrence and we hope and pray that none of you have an immediate connection to these events. That said, the pain of one is felt by all, so I ask that you join me and those of us here on campus in praying for the victims, their families, the teachers and personnel in the Newtown Public Schools. We also pray for the police officers and medical staff who are responding to those in need."
John Petillo, president, Scared Heart University