Oblates rush to offer pastoral care after bombing

BOSTON -- After rushing to try and reach the scene of the tragedy, the Oblates of the Virgin Mary who staff St. Francis Chapel in the Prudential Mall and St. Clement Eucharistic Shrine on Boylston Street, responded to the tragedy at the Boston Marathon by offering special Holy Hours, a Mass, and a time for community building and reflection.

Both OMV sites ran Holy Hour services on April 16 and St. Clement Eucharistic Shrine hosted a Mass celebrated by Father Tom Carzon, OMV, followed by a period of time for community building and reflection.

Father John Wykes, OMV, director of the chapel in the Prudential Center, said he and Father Carzon became busy providing pastoral support immediately after the explosion.

"As soon as I heard that there were explosions, I just grabbed my oils," Father Wykes said.

After he abruptly left a meeting with his provincial to rush to the scene, the police turned Father Wykes around. He immediately began offering counseling to people in the area concerning the crisis.

Father Wykes kept the chapel open until 4 p.m. that day, but officials insisted that the chapel close.

The chapel opened promptly the next day.

"Each of the Masses were a devoted Mass for times of war and civil disturbances, these prayers were very apropos for the event," Father Wykes said.

Father Wykes said public safety workers and soldiers frequent services and Masses offered at the chapel, but since the crisis happened this has stopped.

"Usually we will see one or two Boston Police officers. We will see one or two emergency people come in for Mass, but not since this happened," he said.