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Family, Friends Gather for Grace McDonnell

A steady stream of people turn out for the Sandy Hook School student's wake at St. Rose of Lima Church in Newtown.

As the bell tolled at St. Rose of Lima Church in Newtown Thursday afternoon, family and friends of Grace Audrey McDonnell stepped inside to show their love and pay their respects.

Grace was born on Nov. 4, 2005. She was one of the 26 victims of the Dec. 14 shooting at Sandy Hook School.

Outside the church, in the parking lot, Philip Melchionne of Prospect and Mark Dawley of Newtown—both members of the Knights of Columbus—helped direct traffic. 

The two said they felt honored to help the McDonnell family, and all those impacted by the tragedy. In addition to helping direct traffic, Dawley said KOC members have been cleaning churches following services, transporting elderly residents to and from services, and helping make sure the cemeteries are clear and prepared.

Basically, Dawley said, "Anything that needs to be done to ease the burden off the family."

"I have three girls and if something happened to one of them I would hope that my fellow Knights would come to my need," Melchionne said.

A Memorial Mass for Grace McDonnell was scheduled today at 11 a.m. at St. Rose, 46 Church Hill Road, Newtown.

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