“We come here filled with a lot of feelings, a lot of emotions, but we’re not here about those feelings,” the church’s pastor, Father Jim Bilot, told the gathering, Detroit Catholic reported. “The core and depth of our being goes beyond our ability to feel, to think, and experience. That’s where Jesus wants us to be. We can be weary. We can be troubled. We can be angry. We can be despairing. We can be fearful. There are so many layers to what’s going on that there’s not one simple answer to any of the questions we may have.”
At Guardian Angels Parish in Clawson, Deacon Christopher Stark prayed for the victims and led a livestreamed rosary Tuesday evening.
“Today is truly the saddest day I’ve experienced in the state of Michigan,” said Stark, who is also a graduate of Michigan State University and is a friend of the Verner family, according to Detroit Catholic.
Teary-eyed, Stark prayed for the “three young Spartans who lost their lives way too young, senselessly, and we ask the grace and mercy of God to be on their families, and for their souls to find a place of happiness, light, and peace in the presence of God in paradise,” he said.
“A dreadfully dark day in East Lansing,” Bishop Earl Boyea of Lansing tweeted earlier Tuesday. “May the love of Almighty God restore health to the injured; sustain those caring for them; bestow solace on those who mourn and eternal rest to those who were killed. The Catholic community is praying that they rest in peace.”
Father Michael Cassar, parochial vicar of St. John Church and Student Center on MSU’s campus, described the center’s response to the tragedy. In a Tuesday video on the Diocese of Lansing’s website, Cassar noted that the parish’s pastor, Father Gordon Reigle, was at the campus convention center until 3:30 a.m. with other religious leaders, parents, and students offering support.
“Tragedies are real, and you can’t pretend them away,” Cassar reflected. “But you also have to see them wrapped around and somehow absorbed into this love of Christ. And you can’t always see that element but it’s there. And so holding these together and mourning with those who are mourning without losing sight of Christ and his love and realizing that he’s with us, walking through it, suffering with his body, the Church, who are mourning as well.”
St. John’s Catholic Church and Student Center on Facebook thanked other campus ministries and Catholic organizations for their support. Sharing a photo of the University of Notre Dame’s famous grotto with “MSU” spelled out in candles there, it said: “We feel the love from our friends and colleagues — and that has sustained us in ministry throughout the day.”