Finding comfort in song and prayer

Local churchgoers mourn victims of recent Las Vegas shooting


OLIVER McKENNA | The Daily Evergreen

Father Steve Dublinski leads a prayer service for the victims of Sunday’s shooting in Las Vegas, NV tonight at Sacred Heart Church.

JESSICA ZHOU, Evergreen assistant news editor

A call and response, led by parishioner Dan Jinguji, reverberated through the red brick walls of Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Pullman in the concluding hymn of the evening.

“For the thousands traumatized by the attack, bring them comfort. We pray to,” Jinguji sang, and then about a dozen voices joined in, “the Lord, hear our prayers.”

The night before, 64-year-old Stephen Paddock fired into a crowd of 22,000 from his room on the 32nd floor of Las Vegas’ Mandalay Bay Hotel, killing at least 59 people and injuring 527 more at the Route 91 Harvest Festival.

Sacred Heart Priest Steve Dublinski held this service to help the parishioners express their condolences through prayer and song.

“In the end, we cannot make sense of what has happened,” he said.

He did not know about the terrorist attack until he went fishing this morning in St. Maries, Idaho. He left early and returned to Pullman to help plan the service, and called Jinguji to ask him to lead the hymns. By the afternoon, he had shared information about the service on Sacred Heart’s social media.

“I think everyone thought, ‘How is this happening?’ ” Francy Bose, a parishioner, said. She decided to attend the prayer service as soon as she heard about it.

She attended the service with her friend, Linda Heidenreich, who said she first heard about the shooting when word of the special prayer service was announced earlier that afternoon.

“I heard about the massacre when I heard about the service,” she said. “The first thing to do was pray.”

The first thing she felt was sadness. More than ever, she said, the events in Las Vegas remind her of the need for connection and solidarity with people in her community.