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Roman Catholics gathered yesterday to honor the victims of the marathon bombings and manhunt and to pray for peace and healing at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston.

During his sermon, Cardinal Sean O’Malley urged parishioners to be people of reconciliation, not revenge.

"The crimes of the two young men must not be the justification for prejudice against Muslims, or against immigrants," O'Malley said.

O’Malley, who hosted President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, as well as other religious leaders, politicians and family members of the bombing victims in an interfaith service on Thursday, said everyone was profoundly affected by the senseless violence of the marathon bombers.

"It’s hard to understand what was going on in their heads," O'Malley said. "What demons were operative? What ideology or politics? Or the perversion of their religion?"

But, O’Malley said, it was amazing to witness how much goodness and generosity occurred after the tragedy. He said the challenge going forward is to keep this spirit of community alive.

"I hope that the events of this past week have taught us all how high the stakes are," he said. "We must build a civilization of love, or there will be no civilization at all."