WILBRAHAM — As a young girl, Amy Lord loved to dance.
And so, on Tuesday, the day of her funeral, a choir at St. Cecilia Catholic Church sought to bring comfort to the hundreds of mourners inside. Their song: “Lord of the Dance.”
“I danced in the morning when the world was begun, and I danced in the moon and the stars and the sun.”
It was, said Mary McCue, a pastoral minister at the church, the perfect choice.
“Amy was a woman who knew how to live her life to the full,” she said. “The song spoke so well of who she was, and it was played and sung so beautifully today.”
Through the morning a stream of relatives, friends, and neighbors filed into the church, just off Main Street, to celebrate Lord’s life. The 24-year-old, who grew up in Wilbraham the eldest of three sisters, was killed a week earlier in Boston, her death reverberating across the region.
Tuesday was a bright and cloudless day, and, except for the cars, Main Street was silent. Half an hour before the funeral, church bells began to ring. Outside, much was decked in white: white ribbons celebrating Lord’s life appeared on mailboxes, on lapels, on a towering tree beside the parish office.
The hearse and funeral procession arrived at the church just before 10 a.m. They had come from Sampson’s Chapel of the Acres funeral home just a few miles away in Springfield, where a wake Monday drew close to 1,000 people. As the Mass began, there was only standing room in the church, which normally holds 750 people. Lord’s parents and sisters sat in the front pew.
In his homily, the Rev. Joseph M. Soranno said Lord was a beautiful, vibrant young woman, admired and loved by all who knew her. She was a “princess to her wonderful parents,” he said.
“Amy made friends, good friends, wherever she went,” he said. “As an older sister, she was adored by her younger sisters and all of their friends. She was a big sister to so many young people, and a wonderful role model for young girls to emulate.”
At Minnechaug Regional High School, Lord was an honors student and captain of her school’s cheerleading squad. After graduating in 2011 from Bentley University, she moved to Boston to pursue a career in digital marketing and Web design.
Lord was accosted early July 23 outside her apartment building at 124 Dorchester St. in South Boston, police have said. She was forced back into the building, beaten, and then made to drive to five Boston ATM machines to withdraw cash. Her body was found that afternoon at Stony Brook Reservation in Hyde Park.
Police have in custody a “person of interest,” Edwin J. Alemany, but have not charged him with killing Lord. Alemany, 28, is undergoing a mental competency examination at Bridgewater State Hospital and has been charged with attacking two other South Boston women.
At the funeral, Lord’s boyfriend, Michael Cassell, read from “The Station,” an essay by Robert J. Hastings, said McCue.
“The true joy of life is the trip,” the essay reads.
After the Mass was finished and the casket — white and engraved with pink roses — was driven away, Cassell and a group of Lord’s relatives and friends congregated in the parking lot, exchanging hugs and memories. Lord’s immediate family, who asked for privacy and have declined to speak in public, had left already for private rites of committal and interment.
“It’s a tough day for the family and for the town,” said John Sampson, owner of the Chapel of the Acres funeral home.Nikita Lalwani can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.