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Orlando city-wide prayer service spreads hope, healing

Posted at 11:46 PM, Jun 14, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-14 23:55:00-04

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Less than 72 hours after the deadliest shooting our country has ever seen, Orlando is piecing itself back together.

Thousands of people of all faiths came together under one roof Tuesday night for a city-wide prayer service at First Baptist Church of Orlando.

People bowed their heads to remember the 49 innocent lives that never made it out of Pulse Nightclub Sunday morning. Each name was read out loud as a church bell rang in their memory.

"We're all struggling with all the same questions, why did this happen?" said Mayor Buddy Dyer of the city of Orlando.

Mayor Dyer faced the reality that the city is now the location of the worst shooting in the country's history.

"It shakes you. It's not a settling experience," said Cintia Ally, who came to the prayer service to show support.

Others like Angie Riquelme came to the service to seek comfort.

"Our family lost 7 in the tragedy," said Riquelme who works for Valencia College.

On Tuesday the College's President announced 7 of the victims were current or former students at Valencia.

This tragedy has touched everyone in some way; from the police officers who ran towards the gun fire, the first responders and doctors who rushed to treat victims, to the community members who lined up to donate blood. Now local churches are coming together to spread hope and healing.

"When we look at this, I truly hope that people from all around the world see that Orlando is filled with many people who want to love and support one another," said Lynn Math, a volunteer at First Baptist Church of Orlando.