As congregants took part in the sharing of the peace ? usually a handshake ? during the bilingual Mass, dozens of relatives left their seats and embraced each other, many of them crying. Jonathan Vigliotti reports.
Hundreds gathered Friday to mourn the seven family members who died when their SUV went flying over a guardrail on an accident-plagued stretch of the Bronx River Parkway over the weekend.
Seven hearses — two white and five black — arrived at the Church of St. Raymond shortly before noon, where 10 children in blue school uniforms stood in a straight line on the steps.
The coffins were carried to the front of the 19th-century church and arrayed between the altar and the front pews.
Hundreds of mourners filled the street before the start of the liturgy.
As congregants took part in the sharing of the peace — usually a handshake — during the bilingual Mass, dozens of relatives left their seats and embraced each other, many of them crying.
The family has gone through "a nightmare of unimaginable frightening real proportions," Monsignor John Graham told the gathering.
Killed in Sunday's wreck were Jacob Nunez and Ana Julia Martinez, who were visiting from the Dominican Republic community of Manuel Bueno; their daughters, Maria Gonzalez and Maria Nunez, and three grandchildren.
The children were Jazlyn Gonzalez, 10, the daughter of the driver, and Niely Rosario, 7, and Marly Rosario, 3, both daughters of Nunez.
The grandparents' bodies were to be returned to the Dominican Republic.
At the end of the Mass, Bishop Josu Iriondo walked down the steps from the altar and sprinkled the caskets with holy water and waved incense over them.
Police say Maria Gonzalez, the driver of the SUV, clipped a highway divider and damaged a tire before the vehicle flew off a highway and plummeted six stories into a ravine on the grounds of the Bronx Zoo.
The stretch of highway where the accident happened has been the scene of both fatal and nonfatal incidents over the years.
After last week's deadly crash, officials agreed to install new concrete barriers on the outside travel lane on three viaducts.
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