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After Stabbing, New Mexico Catholic Church Members Start Victims Fund, Forgive Perpetrator

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A sign and flowers are left by a parishioner at the St. Jude Thaddeus Catholic Church in Albuquerque Monday, April 29, 2013, a day after a man stabbed several churchgoers Sunday as Mass was ending. Police say four parishioners were injured, including church choir director Adam Alvarez, but none have life-threatening injuries. Lawrence Capener, 24, is charged with three counts with aggravated battery and is being held on $75,000 bail. (AP Photo/Russell Contreras) | AP

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Members of a Catholic church where three people were stabbed during Mass a week ago launched an effort on Sunday to raise money for victims hurt in the attack.

The start of the campaign came as Sunday services resumed at St. Jude Thaddeus Church. Parishioners were also collecting cards and well wishes to give to families.

"God is working in and through all of life's circumstances," a message seeking donations said on the church's website. "Thank you for your prayers and concern and for answering God's call."

Police said Lawrence Capener stabbed three people on April 28 as Mass was ending because he thought a choir leader was a Mason. He has been charged with aggravated battery and was being held on $250,000 bail.

Santa Fe Archbishop Michael Sheehan re-consecrated the Albuquerque church on Wednesday by sprinkling holy water and spreading incense through the building. The move was part of a Catholic ritual required after a sacrilege has been committed at a church.

St. Jude Thaddeus' pastor, the Rev. John Daniel, said he believes parishioners have already forgiven Capener and continued to pray for him and his family.

"What can you do? This is what we are taught to do," he said.

Capener, 24, told police that he also tagged the Sandoval No. 76 Masonic Lodge in Rio Rancho with spray paint just before the stabbing attack, authorities said.

Police later found red and blue spray paint on signs, outside walls and a door. Investigators said he also left the message, "I hope you guess who I am."

Parishioners said they rarely saw Capener attend services but were aware that his mother is active in the church, which is on the city's Westside.

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