Michael Dwyer, Associated Press
Boston ranks among the least religious cities in the country, according to Gallup.
But those numbers, based on church attendance and whether religion is important in the daily life of those surveyed, don't tell the whole story.
In the wake of Monday's fatal marathon bombings, Boston has experienced a show of faith that has been chronicled and recorded by news outlets and bloggers.
On Thursday, President Obama, quoting an unnamed poet, called the city "a perfect state of grace" during an interfaith service Thursday in the Cathedral of the Holy Cross.
"And so we come together to pray and mourn and measure our loss. But we also come together today to reclaim that state of grace. To reaffirm that the spirit of this city is undaunted and the spirit of the country shall remain undimmed."
"The grace this tragedy exposed is the best of who we are," he added in a speech that he opened and closed with the New Testament passage "run with endurance the race that is set before us."
The religious gathering was one of several held in the city since two bombs exploded at the finish line of the annual race, killing three people and injuring more than 170.
The outpouring of faith prompted Harvard Divinity School student Christopher Lisee to write in the Washington Post: "Boston can be a place of sharp divides. Parts of the historic city were literally built along lines of race, ethnicity, class and religion. But tragedies like this bridge gaps with compassion and understanding. As we continue to seek comfort, we may doubt and question God, and find for a time we must rely on one another for support."
Bill Richard, the father of the 8-year-old victim and whose wife and daughter are recovering from injuries suffered in the blast, expressed gratitude for the thoughts and prayers and asked for more.
"My dear son Martin has died from injuries sustained in the attack on Boston. My wife and daughter are both recovering from serious injuries,'' he said in the statement, published by the Boston Globe. "We thank our family and friends, those we know and those we have never met, for their thoughts and prayers. I ask that you continue to pray for my family as we remember Martin.''
Atheists are volunteering their support, but one group expressed irritation that they weren't invited to Thursday's interfaith service.
“We have friends and family who are in the hospital in critical condition, who nearly died,” Harvard Humanist Community chaplain Greg Epstein told Raw Story. “It wouldn’t have been so difficult for those who organized the vigil today to make some kind of nod to us, and that’s all we would have wanted.”
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