Described as a child with an indomitable spirit, Josephine Grace Gay's life, love and smile were celebrated on Saturday morning during a Mass of Christian Burial at St. Rose of Lima.
A native of Columbia, MD, Josephine, known as Joey by those close to her, lost her life on Dec. 14 while attending school at Sandy Hook Elementary, along with 19 of her peers and six school teachers and administrators.
In a statement released to multiple news outlets, including NBC Connecticut, Josephine's parents said she was autistic and severely apraxic, but a "social and affectionate" child:
"Although our family is devastated, we are deeply comforted in the knowledge that she is no longer scared or hurting and rests in the arms of our Savior, Jesus Christ. It is through His sufficient grace that we are able to get through this. Our innocent, trusting little girl stared into the face of unimaginable evil and overcame it in Christ. She was not alone in her courage."
During the service Saturday morning, about 50 first responders walked through the aisles to view the casket, according to the New Haven Register.
To honor her spirit, Josephine's family has asked that friends and family wear purple, according to her obituary.
According to the family's statement, donations in Josephine's memory can be made online to the Doug Flutie Foundation. Please make sure to select “in Memory of” and type “Joey’s Fund” in the box for “acknowledgement/address and comments.”