Communities gather to spread hope for parents grieving loss of a - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Communities gather to spread hope for parents grieving loss of a child

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CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) -

Temperatures down to single digits didn't stop people from turning out to honor those that have experienced the unthinkable, the death of a child.

People gathered at Xavier High School in Cedar Rapids around its Angel of Hope statue to hold a candlelit vigil and a prayer service for those that are grieving a loss of a child.

The Angel of Hope statue has sat at Xavier High School since 2014. It's one of over 120 other statues spread across the United States for parents to visit. Kylie DeWees, a former Xavier student, raised over $14,000 for the statue.

The service is to show those parents that they're not alone, especially during the holiday season.

"To be surrounded by those that have gone through it and be surrounded by those that say you know I don't know what this is like but I'm here for you. We hope brings them some comfort,"  Adolescent Faith Formation Coordinator St. Joseph Catholic Church, Judy Ramsey, said.

With the help of Ramsey, the program is put on by members of the youth group. The Xavier wrestling team also attends, helping to hand out candles.

"We encourage in our Catholic faith to live your faith so this is a way that we ask our young people to give what they have and that is their prayer. surrounding others with their prayers even though they may have not have experienced that tragedy it is a way to offer hope," Ramsey said.

For Megan Renz, a sophomore at Linn-Mar High School and a member of the group, it was the first time she had heard about the statue. 

"The loss of a child can be so devastating and just to know there's a prayer service for you and that there's a ton of people here ready to support you and give you unconditional love is just awesome," she said.

Both Dubuque and Iowa City also have Angel of Hope statues and held similar events on Wednesday night.

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