Dear Father, the towns of Lawrence, MA, Andover, MA, and North Andover, MA, in Merrimack Valley, were rocked last Thursday by a series of simultaneous gas explosions at over three dozen locations in the three communities. Leonel Rondon, 18, died when a chimney collapsed onto his car. An estimated 25 other people were injured, some seriously. Over 8,600 homes and businesses were evacuated as gas officials searched for additional leaks and the cause of the disaster. Suddenly homeless families walked the streets of the community, pushing carts with whatever belongings they could grab when they hurried to evacuate their homes. Columbia Gas, a subsidiary of NiSource, received criticism for not only the disaster but also their slow response to the disaster. The NiSource stock declined nearly 12% on Friday. Governor Charlie Baker called in additional help to solve the mystery and to restore normally gas operations. Residents were allowed to return to their homes this morning but without gas service. One theory is that the gas lines were over pressurized, too much gas being forced into the gas pipes, causing explosive leaks to equalize the pressure at weak connections. Father, I ask You to minister to the friends and family of Leonel Rondon. Show Your compassion, kindness, and mercy on those who grieve his loss, attending to their every need. I ask that You will speak to them in such a way that their hearts turn to You so they can find life-transforming peace and joy. I ask that You will bring healing to those who were injured. I pray that this time of recuperation will include reflection on life and death and their relationship with You. Father, bring people into their lives who will speak Your truth to them in love. Father, I pray for all the families whose lives were disrupted by this disaster. Give them shelter. Enable them to not only return to their homes but to also have their gas functional again. Father, I pray for the businesses that were impacted by the gas explosions. They too need Your help. Lead business men and women to cry out to You for help. Father, use this disaster to strengthen people’s faith and to bring people into a personal relationship with You. Father, I ask that no more homes explode because of this gas leak. Amen.
Dear Father, Arthur Medici, 26, of Revere, MA, was killed this weekend by a great white shark at Newcomb Hollow Beach in Wellfleet, MA on Cape Cod. Arthur was the first person to be killed by a shark in Massachusetts waters in 82 years. Another swimmer was attacked earlier this year but he survived. It has been reported that Arthur was boogie boarding with the brother of his girlfriend when he was attacked. Despite the heroic effort to save his life by other people on the beach, the bite wounds caused massive bleeding which led to Arthur’s death. The area is home to a population of seals, attracting sharks to the shallow waters southeast of Boston, MA. Father, minister to Arthur’s friends and family this very hour. Comfort them. Meet their needs. Hear their cries out for help and understanding. Walk with them through their grief, carrying them when necessary. Father, I ask that the lessons we should all learn from Arthur’s demise will not be missed by us. We do not know what a day may bring. This very hour is the time for us to turn our hearts back to You, to seek forgiveness from You, and to surrender our lives to You. Father, I ask that You will heal Arthur’s friends and family both emotionally and spiritually as they take the time to consider what happened to their dear loved one. I also pray that You will protect other bathers in Cape Cod in the remaining weeks of warm weather. Amen.