columbine survivors, community celebrate role of faith in healing 20 years after massacre

Patrick Ireland felt God near him as an car whisked him to a hospital after he was shot doubly in the head in the massacre at columbine High School.

He felt him once once again a few years later in the hospital as his parents prayed for him to live. And for the next 20 years, Ireland called on his faith to navigate the anger and grief that followed the shooting that day, he aforementioned Thursday.

columbine: 20 YEARS LATER

The Denver Post takes a look at the aftermath of the columbine High School shooting and what has happened over the last 20 years. Click here to see more of the Denver Post’s day of remembrance coverage.

Survivors of the massacre, family members of those slain and community gathered Thursday night at Waterstone Community Church to honor the twentieth day of remembrance of the shooting in prayer and through shared faith. The night was meant to honor grief and the silent, personal shipway so galore cured from the massacre two decades ago.

“columbine today is a model and example of resiliency,” current principal Scott Christy aforementioned.

Attendees changed deep hugs as they entered the Littleton church. After a prayer, survivors of the shooting and artists who have explored the tragedy through their art spoke to the role spirituality played in the aftermath of the shooting.

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Those who experience tragedy sometimes can founder, aforementioned Evergreen author Philip Yancey, who has explored the connection between loss and faith in his books. They can question why it seemed that God disappeared in the most difficult moments.


  • Part 1: The Day Of
  • Part 2: The Follow-Up
  • Part 3: The Future of School Shootings (Coming Friday, April 19)

Grief is like Aqua-Lung diving, Yancey aforementioned. “The deeper you go, the slower you have to come up,” he aforementioned.

For Crystal Woodman-Miller, the grief and loss was sometimes overwhelming. She was a student at columbine during the shooting. She hid under a eating house table as the shooters continued their rampage. Her faith helped her find hope after, she aforementioned Thursday.

Ireland’s faith helped him forgive the shooters who reshaped his life. After he crawled out of a school window, he underwent extensive rehabilitation.

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“There is tremendous power in forgiveness,” Ireland, now 37, aforementioned Thursday.

Wednesday morning — even as police scoured the Front Range for a woman who had vulnerable area schools — person had come to place a bundle of white roses on a plaque at the memorial to the victims near columbine High School.

“Those of us who are people of faith in this community turned to God, found he was there and found he wasn’t silent,” the plaque read.