St. Mary’s Health System holds prayer service to honor the victims of the Lewiston shootings

Employees of St. Mary’s Health System in Lewiston gathered recently to honor those who died in the mass shootings on October 25.

During a prayer service held in the St. Mary’s Residences Chapel, employees of the health system and tenants of the residences joined together in praying that the Lord would “receive our sorrow.”

“Holy Spirit, be the One who finds us in the corners of our pain, be the One who surrounds us with love that listens, cradles, lifts and heals. Give to us the eyes to see that we are not abandoned, not alone. Hold us when we cannot find the strength to hold you,” prayed Chaplain Lisa Watson-Hill, who led the prayers of petition. “We pray for the ones who grieve at graveside and bedside, for lives lost, lives just barely hanging on, for lives devastated by the actions of a lost soul. We pray for the families with empty chairs, with catastrophic impact: emotional, financial, faithful.”

During the service, the names of the 18 people who died in the shootings were read by Elizabeth Keene, Vice President of Mission Integration for St. Mary’s Health System. At each name, Sue Belanger, Covenant Senior Vice President for Mission and Ethics, lit a candle in the person’s honor. Those in attendance were also invited to stand if they had a connection to the person whose name was being read. At the end, all stood as the name of Michael Deslauriers, II was read. Deslauriers had worked for St. Mary’s for 30 years.

The service included opening remarks by Dr. Doug Smith on behalf of St. Mary’s President Cindy Segar-Miller, an opening prayer from Charles Demm, Director of Spiritual Care, and the sharing of Psalm 34 by Chaplain John E. Baugher. The psalm offers assurances that “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted.”

Chaplain Peter Czerwinski, who serves at MaineGeneral Health in Augusta, then shared a Gospel reading, after which the letter that Pope Francis wrote to the community was read. The service concluded with the reading of the poem “We Remember Them.”