Waukesha Catholic community prays for those impacted by parade tragedy, including injured priest
WAUKESHA, Wis. (CBS 58) -- We're seeing more of how the community is responding after the tragedy during the Christmas parade in Waukesha that killed five people and hurt dozens more Sunday.
The pews were packed Monday night at St. Williams Catholic Church with hundreds of people from the Catholic community who came out to pray for the Waukesha community in light of what happened. They prayed for members of their church who were hurt as well, including a well-known priest.
"We just heard a scream and just turned and there's a car you know, just flying, absolutely flying, and then just this horror around us," said Father Matthew Widder.
Father Widder said he recalls his thoughts the moment it happened as he walked with his congregation in the parade.
"I can't believe this is happening," said Father Widder, "Just...I can't believe this is happening."
He said a number of people in the church are hurt, both physically and mentally, by what happened.
Including Father Patrick Heppe, who was hospitalized with injuries.
Which is why they gathered Monday night to pray for those hurt.
Bishop James Sherman, of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, said the church is there for Waukesha.
"Just want to let the people of Waukesha know that the church cares for them, loves them, and is doing what it can to support them," said Bishop Sherman.
In the form of therapists, as well as prayer.
Widder said now, Father Heppe is out of the hospital, and back to his well-known wit.
"The doctor, [...] he was saying [Father Heppe] has to be healthy, but before the doctor could say anything [Father Heppe] said dark chocolate would be his diet," laughed Father Widder.
Through it all, even at the worst moments, Father Widder says there were people there for each other doing the right thing, something he said we need more of.
"That sense of love and hope kind of coming up in the midst of it," said Widder.
Church officials said therapists and other forms of support are available to those who need them through Catholic Charities and the church.