Catholics to run Boston Marathon in memory of boy slain at last year's race

100 people will run this year's Boston Marathon in honor of bombing victim Martin Richard. They will be raising funds for a charity established by his family to promote Martin's message of peace. Courtesy photo

BOSTON -- "No more hurting people. Peace," read the poster held by Martin Richard, the youngest life lost on Marathon Monday last year. The image of the smiling eight year-old boy accompanied by his message against violence stood in stark contrast to the twin explosions that killed 3 and injured an estimated 264 others on April 15, 2013.

Both friends of the Richard family and total strangers report being inspired by the photo, and some say the Richard family's story caused them to lean on their own Catholic faith.

This Patriots Day, April 21, 100 people will run the Boston Marathon's 26.2 mile course in honor of Martin as part of Team MR8, named for Martin's initials and his age. They are raising funds for the Martin W. Richard Charitable Foundation, a charity established by his family to promote Martin's message of peace.

According to the foundation's website, TeamMR8.org, Martin's view of peace meant more than non-violence. It included "togetherness, teamwork, fairness, sportsmanship, inclusion, and the prevention of bullying."

Larry Marchese, spokesman for the Richard family, said the foundation would like to invest in education, athletics and community. The organization will contribute to peace curriculi for schools and fund projects like peace corners in public libraries. The latter would give children access to books that explain what peace means and biographies on famous peacemakers like Martin Luther King Jr. and Mother Teresa.

Marchese added that Denise and Bill Richards, Martin's parents, hope the foundation will bring something positive out of Martin's death. At the marathon last year, Martin's parents and two siblings were with him at the finish line. Denise suffered a head injury and loss of sight in one eye, Bill had burns on his legs and hearing loss and Martin's younger sister lost her left leg. His older brother was physically unharmed. In press releases, the family repeatedly cited their Catholic faith as a source of strength in their grief and healing.

The foundation's first fundraising effort will be the 2014 Boston Marathon. Each runner for the foundation has promised to raise at least $7,500.

Frank Fumich, an extreme marathoner from Arlington, Va., has already run the Boston course. He and friends collectively ran 18 marathons covering the distance from the Pentagon to the Boston Marathon finish line to raise money for victims of the marathon bombing.

He was inspired to run this year's Boston Marathon by Martin.

"He was a young boy and had his whole life in front of him," he said. "I just thought about my girls and, God, what his parents must be going through."

Fumich ran his first marathon 17 years ago for his aunt who was dying from a brain tumor. Fumich, a Catholic, offered up his pain for her and continues to offer up his pain for a worthy cause with each subsequent marathon. He also prays while he runs, asking God to give him strength.

"There's nothing special about me. I'm not really that talented," he said. "Often, I am literally saying Hail Marys if things get really bad, or talking to my dad who passed away years back."

Jamie Przypek, a casual runner from Springfield, said he hit "the wall" for the first time during the Hop-21, the marathon training run held on March 29 this year. The 21-mile course runs from the Boston Marathon starting line in Hopkinton to just past Heartbreak Hill -- the steep, final hill before the finish line.

"I was stopped at a water station at the bottom of Heartbreak Hill," he said. "My body was saying, 'You can't do it. You can't do it. You can't do it,' and I just reached a little deeper and asked for some help."

Przypek, also Catholic, said God answered his prayer for strength, and he was able to finish. He added that the thought of Martin kept him going.

Diane Pokorny Wilson, a personal trainer who lives in Brookline, said she carried a picture of Martin during a half Ironman Triathlon last year.

"I keep Martin so close to me," she said. "I feel that I'm being lifted a bit by his spirit. I try to keep him with me in my thoughts, and he's in my prayers."

Wilson's son was friends with Martin, and she got to know him when she trained a group of students to run a half marathon.

"He was a kid with a huge smile and a huge heart, and he loved life," she said.

Wilson, a Catholic, said she has been inspired by the Richards' ability to draw strength from the Church.

"Your kids are your life. To lose a child is unimaginable," she said. "Their faith is utterly amazing."

World
Listening church: Pope gives new vision for Synod of Bishops

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Synod of Bishops increasingly should be a structure for listening to the Catholic faithful, demonstrating a local bishop's concern ...

Nation
Director of Courage releases letter on Penn. abuse report

Washington D.C., Sep 17, 2018 CNA.- Courage International, an apostolate to support people with same sex-attraction in leading chaste lives, has issued ...

Nation
Richmond bishop apologizes to victims; commits to opening, reviewing files

RICHMOND, Va. (CNS) -- In celebrating the Diocese of Richmond's first Mass of Atonement for victims of abuse Sept. 14, Bishop Barry C. Knestout apologized ...

Nation
Stanford University to remove saint's name from some properties

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- California's Stanford University will strip the name of 18th-century Franciscan friar, St. Junipero Serra, from some of its properties ...

Nation
Catholic Charities distributes disaster relief to areas hit by Florence

RALEIGH, N.C. (CNS) -- The Carolinas were hard hit with record rainfall and flooding rivers from tropical storm Florence since it made landfall Sept. ...

Nation
Archbishop Lori assures diocese he's with them in journey toward healing

WHEELING, W.Va. (CNS) -- In his celebration of Mass at the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Wheeling Sept. 15, Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore said ...

World
Bishop takes a (sky) dive to get pilgrims to Lourdes

HOVE, England (CNS) -- "The Moth has landed," tweeted the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton. The tweet Sept. 14 and a similar post on the diocesan Facebook ...

World
Words, promises are not enough to prevent abuse, archbishop says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Inviting presidents of the world's bishops' conference to the Vatican to discuss abuse prevention reflects an understanding that ...

World
Pope praises Capuchin order's charism of authenticity, simplicity

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Capuchins are called to be men of peace, reconciliation and prayer and to be close to all people, Pope Francis told members of the ...

Nation
Path to healing starts with seeking forgiveness, Cardinal Wuerl says

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- A "Season of Healing" for sexual abuse survivors began in the Archdiocese of Washington with a Sept. 14 Mass at the Cathedral of St. ...

World
Archbishop McCarrick's unofficial role in Vatican-China relations

Vatican City, Sep 17, 2018 CNA.- Following reports that the Holy See and the People’s Republic of China could be about to sign an agreement ...

Nation
Archbishop Chaput: When we forget faith, we forget our humanity

Spokane, Wash., Sep 14, 2018 CNA.- When man tries to cling to reason and separate himself from faith, he forgets who he is and loses his source of hope, ...

World
Pope Francis warns priests against living a double life

Palermo, Italy, Sep 15, 2018 CNA/EWTN News.- During a day trip to Sicily Saturday, Pope Francis told priests and religious to fight their vices and strive ...

World
What is the pontifical secret?

Vatican City, Sep 14, 2018 CNA.- Following the allegations made by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò about the case of Archbishop Theodore McCarrick, ...

World
Vatican publishes list of synod participants, including papal nominees

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- To the list of members of the Synod of Bishops elected by national bishops' conferences, Pope Francis added cardinals from 14 countries, ...

Nation
Addicts and their loved ones talk about life with opioid addiction

ARLINGTON, Va. (CNS) -- It was a Saturday night, and Billy was eating pizza and watching a sporting event in the basement bedroom of his residence, a ...

Nation
Signers of letter hope Vatican meeting will bring needed steps on crisis

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Signers of an open letter from Catholic women to Pope Francis urging "truth" and "transparency" on the growing sex abuse crisis expressed ...

Local
Community 'overwhelmed and shell-shocked' after gas explosions, says pastor

LAWRENCE -- Volunteers at St. Patrick Church's Cor Unum Meal Center were serving dinner when multiple natural gas explosions and fires broke out in homes ...

World
Down to earth: Vatican brings together world's meteorite curators

CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy (CNS) -- Rocks, mineral debris and even dust from space are kept in special collections, museums and laboratories all over the ...

World
Algerian martyrs to be beatified in Algeria Dec. 8

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The beatification of 19 martyrs of Algeria, including the seven Trappist monks of Tibhirine, will be celebrated Dec. 8 in Oran, ...

Nation
'Anything but a picnic' - Cardinal Dolan on the Church's summer of scandal

New York City, N.Y., Sep 14, 2018 CNA.- Cardinal Timothy Dolan has spoken about how the extended sexual abuse scandals facing the Church have taken a ...

Local
Restoring and reimagining: Transformation at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross

BOSTON -- Considered by many to be the heart of the Archdiocese of Boston, the Cathedral of the Holy Cross is the largest Catholic church in New England, ...

Local
Archdiocese says Cardinal O'Malley will personally review all abuse letters

BRAINTREE (CAN) -- The Archdiocese of Boston has announced changes to the way it will process and respond to letters addressed to Cardinal Séan P. ...

Local
CM receives $2.5M grant from Yawkey Foundations

West Roxbury -- Catholic Memorial, a college-preparatory school for boys in grades 7 to 12, announced Sept. 5 that they have received a $2.5 million grant ...

Local
Father Christian Ohazulume removed from ministry

BRAINTREE -- The Archdiocese announced on Sept. 11 that it had removed a priest from ministry after receiving an allegation that he sexually abused a ...

Local
From Cardinal Seán's blog

This week I am in transit to Rome in anticipation of the next meeting of the C9 Council of Cardinals. So, I have asked Vivian Soper to share some reflections ...

Nation
Kavanaugh's birth control comments spur controversy -- What did he say?

Washington D.C. (CNA) -- Opponents of Judge Brett Kavanaugh have suggested that a reference to birth control pills as "abortion-inducing drugs" during ...

Nation
Missouri to enforce abortion regulations in wake of appeals court ruling

Jefferson City, Mo. (CNA) -- Missouri's health department announced Monday that it will immediately being enforcing state laws regulating abortion clinics ...

Nation
Book tells about behind-the-scenes search for St. Peter's bones

HOUSTON (CNS) -- Two Houston men shared a journey through centuries of history and a decades-long archaeological dig under the Vatican to unveil a story ...

World
Update way priests are chosen, accompanied, pope tells new bishops

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The best way to help the Catholic Church, Pope Francis told new bishops, is not by pointing fingers and creating scapegoats, but ...

World
Vatican confirms ongoing Sistine Chapel Choir finance inquiry

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Vatican confirmed an ongoing investigation into financial irregularities involving the directors of the Sistine Chapel Choir. ...

World
After meeting pope, cardinal says he's hopeful about addressing crisis

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston struck a determinedly hopeful tone after his long-awaited meeting with Pope Francis ...

Nation
DA clears Indiana bishop of misconduct, says claim has harmed prelate

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (CNS) -- The Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend welcomed findings by a Pennsylvania district attorney that cleared Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades ...

World
Cardinal DiNardo calls meeting with pope lengthy, fruitful

Vatican City, Sep 13, 2018 CNA/EWTN News.- Cardinal Daniel DiNardo has called a Sept. 13 meeting between Pope Francis and leaders from the Church in United ...

Nation
What do Church abuse policies mean by 'vulnerable adult?'

Denver, Colo., Sep 12, 2018 CNA.- A Vatican summit this February will gather the presidents of bishops’ conferences from around the world. While ...

World
'Elitist, clericalist' church allows abuse to thrive, pope says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Sexual and physical abuse by priests and religious and the scandal of its cover-up by church authorities thrive in countries where ...

World
Cardinal Wuerl to ask pope to accept his resignation

Washington D.C., Sep 12, 2018 CNA.- An archdiocesan spokesman has confirmed that Cardinal Donald Wuerl will soon ask Pope Francis to accept his resignation ...

Nation
Pope accepts resignation of West Virginia bishop as inquiry into abuse claims launched

Vatican City, Sep 13, 2018 CNA/EWTN News.- Pope Francis Thursday accepted the resignation of Bishop Michael J. Bransfield from the pastoral government ...