HARRISON, N.Y. -- Teenage sisters from Harrison, murdered by their father, a retired White Plains police officer who then killed himself on Saturday , were remembered at a funeral mass Friday for their love, strength and friendship.
Father Christopher Monturo and Bishop Gerald Walsh asked more than 1,000 celebrants at St. Gregory the Great Church to carry memories of Alissa and Deana Hochman in the years to come.
"As a human being, I must admit how much our hearts hurt,'' Monturo said. "Love hurts. They were and are the very soul and very spirit of this town of Harrison."
"Alissa and Deanna have left all of us a great gift,'' Monturo said. "Live as they lived and love as they loved. If we do that we will honor their memory and we will feel their inspiration and strength until we see them again."
"We can't gather here without remembering their beautiful lives,'' Monturo said. "In just a few years,they have contributed more than other with decades."
"Deanna would say often, 'Don't worry Mom. Love never fails.' She was a prophet,'' Monturo said.
Recollections of the teenage girls were shared by their mother Anamarie, sister Samantha and Alissa's boyfriend, John, in memories shared by family friends. Their mother and older sister were not at the Harrison home Saturday when Alissa, 17, and Deanna, 13, were shot in their sleep by their father, Glen, who then killed himself.
Alissa volunteered for everything "enthusiastically wondering how she could help.'' She loved ice skating and wasn't shy at all, "shaking your hand and getting to know you and letting you know her."
Deanna was remembered for being zany, a princess, a queen, for enjoying Xbox and wrestling, and for loving the song "Mr. Bojangles."
Alissa's boyfriend, John, recalled going to concerts and Rangers' hockey games. John said Alissa loved riding in the ambulance and that volunteering for Emergency Medical Services "was always in her blood from when she was a kid. EMS was her passion." "We gained two beautiful angels,'' he said through a friend. "I don't know what I will do without my love, my other half. You will always be in my heart."
The girls' older sister, Samantha, offered a message read by a friend.
"I will stay strong for mom,'' she said.
She remembered the last thing Deanna said to her: "I hate those shoes."
To Alissa, she said, "No matter how much we yelled and screamed, I know you are looking down with a big smile on your face. I'm angry your beautiful life was cut short."
Monturo said Cardinal Timothy Dolan called him on Wednesday, and asked Bishop Walsh to represent him at the funeral.
"All of us in the Archdiocese will remember these two young girls and their family. Keep this family in your prayers,'' Walsh said. "There can be no Easter Sunday without a Good Friday. Focus on the good times. ... Pray for one another."
For a gallery of photos from the service by staff photographer Skip Pearlman, click here.
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