Oxford community gathers in prayer for high school shooting victims

Morning church service day after tragic shooting instills hope into hurting community

Our Megan Woods reports from the St. Joseph Catholic Church in Lake Orion where the community gathered in prayer Wednesday morning.

LAKE ORION, Mich. – Tuesday night saw nearly 700 people come out as a sign of solidarity during evening mass.

On a regular night there’s an expectation of a typical crowd between 50 to 60 churchgoers. But Tuesday’s tragic shooting at Oxford High School didn’t make for your typical day, and the St. Joseph Catholic Church community in Lake Orion understood the severity as they knew people were in desperate need of love and support. That’s why they went about their Wednesday mass with the intent of providing hope for the hopeless.

A priest gave a sad but heartfelt prayer as members of the community packed the pews. He mentioned the fallen victims of Tuesday’s tragedy by name: Madisyn (Baldwin), Tate (Myre), and Hana (St. Juliana), as he prayed to grant eternal rest for those who have fallen.

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“It’s just unfathomable,” said church member Kathleen Sarnacki. “We just hurt so much for those who were killed and injured, who have lost and who have witnessed.”

Joanne Samti, a grandmother and aunt of Oxford High School students, is praying for comfort as her family is still digesting everything. She said that although her family is safe and sound, the situation is personal as her grandson and nieces are members of the school and friends of one of the victims.

“A dear friend of one of my grandsons is one of the victims that passed away. My heart just breaks for all the families and the victims,” she said. “He (my grandson) is having a hard time right now. My niece is a student at MSU. She came home last night just to be together with the family. I hope our prayers strengthen them to get through this horrible tragedy.”

The school, which also teaches kindergarten through 8th grade, was closed Wednesday as the students, faculty, and staff continue to mourn.

Members of the St. John Catholic Church and School are trying to turn darkness into light with the help of law enforcement, who will install the ALICE Training program.

ALICE (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate) is an Active Shooter Response Training program that empowers precise decision-making if an attack occurs.

For more Oxford High School shooting coverage go here: Oxford High School Shooting

About the Authors:

Megan Woods is thrilled to be back home and reporting at Local 4. She joined the team in September 2021. Before returning to Michigan, Megan reported at stations across the country including Northern Michigan, Southwest Louisiana and a sister station in Southwest Virginia.

Brandon Carr is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with WDIV Local 4 since November 2021. Brandon is the 2015 Solomon Kinloch Humanitarian award recipient for Community Service.