With church bells pealing, parishioners walked solemnly into St. Teresa's Catholic Church on Tuesday, seeking peace and offering prayers for those lost or injured in the New York and Washington, D. C., terrorist attacks.
About 150 filled the church for a special Mass where Father Jerry Hanley encouraged parishioners not to let hate and evil fill their hearts.
"We have been struck by sheer evil," he said. "Evil is spawned of hatred. One of the gifts hatred seeks from us is that we hate. We must tell ourselves we will not become what has happened to us."
Hanley prayed for government leaders to be wise, and "for all who mourn or who are hurt in any way."
"We went to sleep last night in some sense of peace," Hanley said. "We woke up this morning knowing nothing will ever be the same.
"These are our brothers and sisters who suffer."
Hanley said in times of crisis, people flock to places where they "come for something" in an attempt to mend their broken hearts.
"Suddenly, they need something a whole lot bigger than reality," he said after the mass. "Only God can help us through the next couple days.
"Things will never be the same again," he added.
Tuesday morning, Carson City's Sheila Reinhart got up to take her daughter Jamie to Reno to catch a flight to New York City. News of the New York attack stopped them from going.
"I thank God she wasn't already there," Reinhart said.
Shocked by the event, Reinhart went to church looking for a "sense of belonging outside the craziness.
"When I came here, I was angry at the madness," Reinhart said. "But Father Jerry talked about peace and forgiveness. I needed to hear that."
Ann Jenkins of Carson City wiped tears from her eyes as she listened to Tuesday's service. A former New York resident, Jenkins has several nieces and nephews who work in Manhattan.
"I just found out they're all OK," she said. "I was worried all morning. They had to walk over the Brooklyn Bridge to get to Staten Island. Thank God, everything is OK."
But everything isn't really OK, and Jenkins said in times like this, "We have to stick together and pray more."
Parishioners left the service hugging one another, wiping tears from their faces. Many said they believed their prayers could offer some comfort to those hurt by the attacks.
"Somehow it will touch (them)," Jenny Cordisco said.
Rudy and Helen Moreno came to pray for victims of the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks as well as the victims of four hijacked airplanes.
"It just felt right," Helen Moreno said. "We're a community. We're a nation. We're all praying for each other."
IF YOU GO
- St. Teresa's mass, 12:15 p.m. today, 400 W. King St.
- Capital Baptist Church, 4555 S. Edmonds Dr., open for prayer.
- Fountainhead Foursquare Church, 3690 Highway 395 in south Carson City; 7 p.m. today prayer gathering at the church
- First Christian Church, 326 E. John St., 7 p.m. today public prayer.
- Carson Valley Christian Center, 1095 Stephanie Way, Minden, special services at 7 p.m. Saturday, also 9 and 10:30 a.m. Sunday.