Norristown church holds special service to offer prayers for disaster victims

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Norristown church holds special service to offer prayers for disaster victims: Christie Ileto reports on Action news at 11 p.m., September 21, 2017 (WPVI)

Dozens of parishioners gathered at St. Patrick's Church in Norristown Wednesday night to pray for the people of Mexico and Puerto Rico who were affected by the recent major natural disasters.

Parishioner Ester Alvarez said she has been on her knees in prayer for the last 72 hours, waiting to hear from her family back in Puerto Rico. The island is still without power following lethal storms.

"I have 6 brothers and sisters and I don't know anything from them," said Alvarez. "Sooner or later they're going to get in touch with me. It's hard and sad."

Vincente Peregrina remembers his own story of survival, as his hometown of Puebla, Mexico is at the epicenter of the quake.

"We saw the roads opened and closed, open and closed, some people cry, some people run, but with this news, I'm scared again," he said.

In times of tragedy, people often cling to their faith. In Norristown, that pillar in the community is St. Patrick's - a parish that serves a predominantly Spanish-speaking neighborhood.

"You have to understand there's a big connection between the people who live here and those in Latin America, family... friends..." said Father Gus Puleo.

A world away from the destruction, residents did what they could.

"The church is where we come when we have problems," said Amayrani Higuelveo, who lives in Norristown but is originally from Acapulco, Mexico. "I believe that this is the best way to help those people from far away."

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