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Faith, forgiveness marked life, death of young man killed in shooting
Catholic News Service photo
Friends of Nathan and Jennifer Trapuzzano gather for a moment of silent prayer outside of Holy Rosary Church in Indianapolis April 5 after Nathan Trapuzzano's funeral. The newlywed and father-to-be was shot and killed April 1. 
Catholic News Service photo
Friends of Nathan and Jennifer Trapuzzano gather for a moment of silent prayer outside of Holy Rosary Church in Indianapolis April 5 after Nathan Trapuzzano's funeral. The newlywed and father-to-be was shot and killed April 1. 
Catholic News Service

INDIANAPOLIS — The funeral of 24-year-old Nathan Trapuzzano -- shot and killed while taking a morning walk April 1 in his Indianapolis neighborhood -- emphasized a key aspect of the victim's life: forgiveness.

"Nathan Trapuzzano was a man who knew from his head to his toes that he was a sinner who was loved and forgiven by God. He wanted everyone he met to know the same love and forgiveness," said the homilist Father Christopher Roberts, administrator of St. Mary's in Union City and St. Joseph in Winchester.

Trapuzzano's death -- a month before the birth of his first child, his first wedding anniversary and his 25th birthday -- raised a public outcry against crime and awareness of a man lauded as a pro-life advocate, a good Catholic and a role model for men. A 16-year-old male has been charged with fatally shooting Trapuzzano after a man believed to be his accomplice turned himself in to police.

Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary Church was filled to capacity for the April 5 funeral Mass, which was celebrated in Latin by Father C. Ryan McCarthy, pastor.

In his homily, Father Roberts who met Trapuzzano at Ball State University's Newman Center and married Nathan and his wife, Jennifer, a year ago, said forgiveness was a major focus of Trapuzzano's life.

"His friends report that during his college years he went to confession very frequently, even weekly, so that he could become more and more the man that God had created him to be," the priest said.

He said Trapuzzano's wife wanted everyone to know that celebrating the sacrament of reconciliation was one of the last things that Nathan did, going to confession a day before he died.

"The last lines of the Prayer of St. Francis capture the Christian mystery that gives us hope today: 'It is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life,'" Father Roberts said.

Trapuzzano had been a pro-life sidewalk counselor outside an abortion clinic in Indianapolis with the group Truth and Compassion, an ecumenical pro-life ministry.

Dolores Tucker, executive director of Truth and Compassion, said she yearns for justice and conversion of the men who took Trapuzzano's life.

"The irony of the fact that he was gunned down in the lot where we park to pray is not lost on me," she told The Criterion, archdiocesan newspaper of Indianapolis.

"I believe this is a spiritual battle. This is not a gun control issue or a gang issue. This is an issue of the heart -- the heart of our city, the heart of our youth.

Trapuzzano's wife similarly prayed for the shooter, posting on Facebook just days after her husband's death: "The police have reported the suspect of my husband's murder was only 16. Oh how my already wounded heart aches to hear this. Nate always said one of the greatest crimes in the world today is how many babies grow up without their father. I don't know this man's circumstances but it hurts to hear that such a young man could turn to such violence. Please pray for his conversion."

According to the Indianapolis Star daily newspaper, a cousin of Trapuzzano's wife, Jennifer, set up an online fundraising page for the family with a goal of $100,000. More than 2,000 people donated a total of more than $114,000 in one day through the website gofundme.com.

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