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Mourners bid farewell to Molloy soccer star

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Solemn attendees entered the 215-35 38th Ave. church quietly, with only their footsteps, the soft fall of snowflakes and the practicing of bagpipe players periodically punctuating the silence.Grogan, an 18-year-old Archbishop Molloy senior, had been in Florida to compete in a club soccer tournament on behalf of the Bayside-based FC United Tigers. She and a teammate, Brittany Gruber of West Islip, L.I., were struck by a 2006 Acura at 10 p.m. on Tampa's bustling Dale Mabry Highway. Police have not charged the driver, but an investigation is ongoing."Kaitlyn Maureen died with Christ. May she now share with him eternal glory," the Rev. Thomas Brosnan told a full gathering in the pews and balcony.Along the walls were stained glass depictions of Biblical scenes of Jesus, two of which were inscribed, "I will be their safe refuge in life and death" and "I will comfort them in all their afflictions."Flanking the casket on either side were bouquets of white flowers - one set in the shape of a soccer ball and emblazoned with the number 33, which Grogan wore as an athlete - and a white poster board prepared by Grogan's teammates that read, in part, "You will play in our hearts."The visual reminders of Grogan's enthusiasm for life were complemented by Brosnan's address to the parish, in which he noted that the loss of someone "so good, so young, so vibrant" was all but incomprehensible."As we gather together... when our hearts have been broken, we seek consolation that only God can give," Brosnan said. "It is impossible to understand, and no words can be offered to take away the pain."But invoking the poetry of 13th century Persian Islamic poet Jalal ad-Din Rumi, Brosnan told the gathered that understanding can emerge from tragedy: "When helpless, dumbfounded, then a stretcher will come from grace," he said, borrowing Rumi's lines.Brosnan offered that "love and loss are two sides of the same coin" and urged everyone, particularly Grogan's classmates, to not only remember Grogan's friendship during her life, but to reach out to her spirit after her death.Several of Grogran's relatives, including her godmother, Cindy Heng; aunt, Kathy Cordry; and cousin, Peter Grogan, led the church in prayer.Their voices faltered frequently, giving way to pause and tears, but the parish responded uniformly and in unison each time: "Lord, hear our prayer."

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