Angels of Hope Inc’s website says their angels “serve as beacons of hope for those suffering from the emotional and physical absence of a child.”
In October an Angel of Hope statue was delivered to Newtown. The angel has a face of a child and stands 4’ 3” with a wingspan of 5’ 2”. Inside its wing is written the word Hope.
Lisa Brown said she remembers waking up shortly after 12/14 and thinking she had to get Newtown an angel. The first person the Waterbury resident called was best-selling author Richard Paul Evans, who wrote The Christmas Box. A statue mentioned his book was the inspiration for Angels of Hope.
There are no big corporations, just everyday people who work together to do fundraisers and donate money toward the statue. The Angel of Hope for Newtown received donations from as far as New Zealand and Australia.
“I always thought it was hard to find good people,” said Ms Brown, “but with this journey I found them.”
Once the monetary goal for the angel was reached, the process became finding a location for it to be placed. There was talk of having to put the angel in storage because a home could not be decided upon. Then one night, when Ms Brown was thinking about the angel, she got a call from Monsignor Robert Weiss, pastor of St Rose Church, saying the angel could find a home at the Newtown church.
Now that the angel would have a permanent residence, the next step was to figure out a specific location on the property.
“I wanted Father Bob to be a part of it because he opened his arms to embrace [the angel],” said Ms Brown. She tried to insist that he choose the location, and he insisted she choose. In the end, Monsignor Weiss chose the angel to be positioned in front of St Rose School.
Monsignor Weiss said they decided to place the Angel of Hope in front of the school as “a sign of protection for the children entering the building for school and religious education.”
Also, because of the way the angel is facing, Ms Brown said, “No matter what angle, it’s like she’s watching over everybody.”
Ms Brown has already spoken with three different families who lost a loved one on 12/14 and said they have embraced the angel and thanked her.
When Ms Brown first visited the angel and held its child-size hand there was “something I felt inside my heart — I felt at peace,” she said. “You can hold her hand, touch her face and feet and get that sense of comfort.”
Dedication Ceremony Planned
The Angel of Hope Dedication Ceremony will take place on Saturday, December 14, at 7 pm, at St Rose School, 46 Church Hill Road. The dedication will take about half an hour and a candlelight vigil will follow with luminarias around the angel.
The ceremony will include prelude music from Kylie DeWees, a high school senior in Utah. After 12/14 she was inspired to start playing the piano and her gift has led her to create a CD to raise money for an Angel of Hope at her high school.
Ms Brown will follow with a welcoming speech, Monsignor Weiss will lead an opening prayer, and Richard Paul Evans will both speak and give a dedicatory prayer. Mr Evans’s assistant, Lisa Johnson, will also be a speaker.
The ceremony will also include music by Chris Connolly & Company, who did the second fundraiser for the Angel of Hope at The Curtis House is Woodbury.
Brett Pomeroy, who donated the base of the angel, will speak.
And a poem will be read by Pamela Moser from New York, who did the first fundraiser for the Angel of Hope. The fundraiser took place during a blizzard last December.
Also, Nutmeg Printers has made 300 free programs for the ceremony, Orchid Florists in Waterbury are donating all the flowers, and the Blue Colony Diner will be providing coffee and pastries for everyone after the dedication ceremony free of charge.
Ms Brown plans to start an annual ceremony next year, an evening event to take place at the angel on December 6. That particular date is recognized around the world as Children’s Remembrance Day.
Ms Brown acknowledges that in addition to the 20 children killed last year at Sandy Hook School there were also six adults. But, she says, they too were someone’s child.
“My wish all along is for it to be a place people can go — for anyone who lost a loved one – to reflect, find comfort, peace, and hope,” she said.