|The "Angel of Hope" gifted to the town of Newtown, CT|
An Angel of Hope statue has been gifted to the town of Newtown, CT. The angel has a face of a child and has the word Hope inscribed inside its wing. It will be formally dedicated on December 14. It has been placed in front of St. Rose School in the small New England town.
What is an Angel of Hope?
The Christmas Box Angel Statue was introduced to the world in the book The Christmas Box, a bestseller and television movie by author Richard Paul Evans. In the book, a woman mourns the loss of her child at the base of an angel monument. The statue evokes a profound and miraculous connection between mother and child and helps convey valuable lessons about the true meaning of life to others. This simple, non-religious but spiritual story has brought hope to thousands of parents who have endured the death of a child.
Though the story is fiction, the angel monument once existed but is speculated to have been destroyed. The new angel statue was commissioned by Richard Paul Evans, in response to reports that grieving parents were seeking out the angel as a place to grieve and heal. The monument was dedicated on December 6, 1994 -corresponding with the date of the child’s death in The Christmas Box. Coincidentally, Dec. 6th is celebrated in many parts of the world as Children’s Day.
Angels of Hope comfort nationwide.
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.” There are currently about 66 angels nationwide, comforting parents who have had the misfortune of losing 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 of Waterbury, CT said she remembers waking up shortly after 12/14 and thinking she had to get Newtown an angel. The first person she 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.
Everyday people donated from across the globe.
There were no big corporations, just everyday people who work together to do fundraisers and have donated money toward the statue. The Angel of Hope for Newtown received donations from as far as New Zealand and Australia. The angels cost $14,500 and the granite stand and engraving can cost from $4,000.00 to $7,000.00 additional.
“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.
Monsignor Weiss chose the angel to be positioned in front of St Rose School. Because of the way the angel is facing, Ms Brown said, “No matter what angle, it’s like she’s watching over everybody.”
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, One Year Later.
The Angel of Hope Dedication Ceremony will take place on Saturday, December 14, at 7 pm, at St Rose School in Newtown, CT. The dedication will take about half an hour and a candlelight vigil will follow with luminarias around the angel in memory of all the angels we lost this time last year.
The ceremony will include music followed by Ms Brown with a welcoming speech, Monsignor Weiss will lead an opening prayer, and Richard Paul Evans will both speak and give a dedicatory prayer.
Ms Brown plans to start an annual ceremony next year, an evening event to take place at the angel statue 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.
|Construction of the Angel of Hope statue in Newtown, CT|
Nancy Burban 2013