BOSTON — Crowds lined sidewalks around a Boston cathedral Thursday, looking for comfort and to lend support as an interfaith service that included remarks by President Barack Obama paid tribute to marathon bombing victims.
Some people stood in line for hours to try to get tickets to the event at Cathedral of the Holy Cross, which was open to the public on a first-come, first-service basis.
There was a heavy police presence around the cathedral in the city’s South End and authorities closed nearby streets to traffic.
Some runners from Monday’s marathon were among those who attended the service, and many donned their race jackets for it. Attendees also included a number of Boston nurses who have cared for the wounded since the bombings.
“I think it’s important that we heal as well as those who were affected. I guess sometimes you feel you can’t do a single thing and this is something we can do,” said Beth Anne Stevenson, a Boston Medical Center surgical intensive care unit nurse.
After waiting in line for about two hours, Boston University School of Theology Dean Mary Elizabeth Moore got a ticket to enter the cathedral, which seats about 2,000.
“I’m here to lament and hope and celebrate the first responders and the many people who have done acts of kindness in the last three days,” she said.
Three people died and more than 180 were injured when two bombs exploded at the Boston Marathon’s finish line Monday.
Thursday’s service included reflections by representatives of Protestant denominations; the Jewish, Muslim and Greek Orthodox faiths; and by Cardinal Sean O’Malley, who heads the Catholic Church in Boston.
Gov. Deval Patrick and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino also spoke at the service, and cellist Yo-Yo Ma performed.
First lady Michelle Obama attended the event with the president, but the people who packed the sidewalks in front of the cathedral didn’t catch a glimpse of them entering.