Maritimers, like many others, are still struggling to make sense of Friday's school shooting in Connecticut.

A heavily armed man opened fire inside a Newtown elementary school Friday leaving 27 dead — including 20 children — and forcing students to cower in classrooms and then flee with the help of teachers and police.

It's one of the worst mass shooting in U.S. history.

While police continue to investigate, many are finding solace and offering comfort through prayer.

People filed into St. Mary's Basilica in Halifax for evening mass Friday night.

Many Canadians don't have a direct connection to what happened, but they share the horror over the savagery of the shooting. Like those in the United States many Maritimers are pondering the same questions.

"And the question why? Are those people human? What is missing?" asked Father Tadek Jordan during his sermon.

One church attendee, Jose Nocon, said in times of great sorrow, people need to come together.

"To show humanity and to pray for each other. I firmly believe that we share the same values with those who suffered from the tragedy and we need to band together through prayers and pray for each other," he said.

"Especially with situations like this, a very adverse situation, it helps you to deal positively, lovingly, kindly with these sorts of things," said parishioner Naline Davies.

Elizabeth Boyd said she also believes in the power of prayer.

"I believe that prayer works even in those disasters to great good and in some mysterious way brings comfort to people in sorrow and pain," she said.

Canadian politicians were quick to offer condolences after news broke of a mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Premier Darrell Dexter wrote a letter to the governor of Connecticut offering Nova Scotia's help.