A mother and her three children who were found shot to death at their Berks County, Pa., home last weekend were remembered at a Funeral Mass in Northeast Philadelphia on Friday morning.
The father, also found dead, was mentioned only in passing by the celebrant, the pastor of Our Lady of Calvary Church.
"The kids were her life. Every minute of the day was devoted to them," said the Rev. John Babowitch, referring to Megan Short, 33, and her children Liana, 8; Mark Jr., 5; and Willow, 2, who had survived a heart transplant at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia when she was six days old.
Police discovered the family dead in the living room of their home in Sinking Spring after Megan Short's mother, Jacquelyn Massott Campbell, told them Short had failed to show up at Campbell's house in Northeast Philadelphia.
Authorities have disclosed few details of the investigation, including the findings of an autopsy of Mark Short, 40, the father and husband. Police found a gun near one of the adults and a suicide note in the kitchen, and said there was a history of domestic discord.
At Friday's Mass, attended by about 200 people, Babowitch recalled how Liana, who would have been in third grade, "loved being a big sister" and enjoyed cheerleading, gymnastics, playing with Barbie dolls, and reading on her Kindle.
The priest said Mark Jr., known as "MJ," was an "adorable little guy," a "rough-houser" who liked Star Wars and action figures and played tee-ball and basketball.
Babowitch described Willow, who was born with a congenital heart defect and spent months in the hospital, as a "miracle baby" and a "warrior" who could "be her own nurse" by putting the EKG stickers on her body.
"I think Willow has the best inspiration for all of us and for everyone grieving," Babowitch said. "Through all of her suffering, always finding a smile through the pain."
The funeral card distributed to friends and family showed a smiling Megan Short holding Willow, with Liana and Mark Jr. by their side. Mark Short was not shown in the photo.
A separate, private service for him was to be held Friday night.
Berks County Chief Detective Michael J. Gombar said Friday that he would brief reporters on the case Monday at the Berks County Agricultural Center in Leesport.