CNA Staff, Aug 18, 2020 / 15:31 pm America/Denver (CNA).
Catholics from Trenton, Michigan and surrounding communities are mourning the loss of their pastor, Fr. Stephen Rooney, as well as 52 year-old Robert Chiles, both of whom are presumed to have drowned in a boating accident on the Detroit River on Sunday.
Rooney, 66, was pastor of St. Joseph Catholic Church in Trenton, a town roughly 25 miles south of Detroit located along the river. In a prayer service at the parish, broadcast on Facebook live, parishioners and friends remembered Rooney as a good priest with a knack for remembering the many people he met in his ministry.
“Father Stephen truly modeled his life after Jesus, accepting all and loving everyone. How he remembered so many names and details about each person’s life was beyond comprehension. Father Stephen, you are greatly missed,” Sarah Elizabeth Vogel commented on the prayer service video.
Rooney and Chiles were among 14 people, including nine adults and five children, aboard a boat being driven by Chiles that capsized Aug. 16 around 7:30 p.m. Nearby boaters helped pull the other passengers off the boat, who had been thrown into the river, to safety, the Detroit Free Press reported.
Authorities are still investigating the accident but preliminary reports indicated that speed may have been a factor, local news sources reported. After unsuccessful searches Sunday evening and Monday, the U.S. Coast Guard said the men were presumed to be dead, the Detroit Free Press reported.