DELRAY BEACH, Fla. - While residents in Santa Maria, Brazil try to cope with the terrible loss of more than 200 lives, snuffed out in a nightclub fire Saturday evening, the local community of Brazilians gathers at Mass to remember the victims and find solace.
Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish in Delray Beach is a Catholic Church where hundreds of Brazilians worship.
Given the events that took place in their home country, many flocked to the church Sunday night for a special mass in Portuguese to try to come to grips with what happened.
Father Carlos Anklan, a native Brazilian, said the emails and phone calls from family and friends in Brazil began early Sunday morning.
He said he knows his parishioners from Brazil who live locally also needed healing. Father Anklan said he wanted to hold a special Mass with the victims of the nightclub fire in mind but that even he is struggling with what happened.
"I don't have words and I don't think words would be enough. People can't find a word that will say what they need to hear at this moment. I think they just need a presence that people are with them," said Father Anklan.
Father Anklan, who moved from Brazil in 1991, said there is a feeling of helplessness being so far away from his home country.
Anklan said his message to his parishioners, "find strength through community."