About 100 people who prayed Monday night at St. James Cathoilc Church in Arlington Heights heard a message on how the power of love and goodness far outweighed the darkness in Las Vegas that resulted in the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
St. James' pastor, the Rev. Matt Foley, delivered the message as part of the service that remembered the deceased and those wounded in the shooting. It started with the singing of "Amazing Grace" and included "America the Beautiful" and "Let There Be Peace on Earth."
"I feel like we're united with those who need our prayers," Foley said afterward.
Foley began the evening saying death is not the end and won't destroy the bonds made in someone's life. He later touched on how he was struck by reports about people placing themselves in harm's way to help others when shots rang out late Sunday at a music festival near the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip.
"In the midst of the transgression of evil, the power of love and the power of goodness far outweighs the darkness that brought forth that night," Foley said. "And that's why we gather here today, because we are the people of light. We are the people of hope. We are the people of rebuilding. We're the people of mending. We're the people of justice. And we are the people of love."
Among those in the crowd were Arlington Heights residents Ed and Eileen Czopek. They said they wanted to pray for the shooting victims and give thanks that a good out-of-town friend of their 26-year-old son, Michael, escaped the concert unharmed.
"It was time for prayer," Eileen Czopek said. "We can't do anything from this distance, except pray and hope and be grateful for those that are there are those that rushed in to help."
Sister Joanne Grib said her heart led her to pray for the victims Monday night at St. James.
"All day, it was just a very moving situation," said Grib, who belongs to Sisters of the Living Word in Arlington Heights.