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News Link • Religion: Believers

Texas residents seek healing at church after deadly blast

• Tim Gaynor and Colleen Jenkins
 Hundreds of residents of this close-knit Texas town sought healing at a church service Sunday, while schools were readied to reopen and authorities investigated the cause of last week’s deadly fertilizer plant blast.

About 200 residents in the town of West, Texas — including farmers, veterans and migrant workers — packed the Catholic Church of the Assumption in the center of the town for Mass early Sunday.

The Rev. Boniface Onjefu offered prayers for the 14 dead, among them volunteer firefighters and emergency workers, and nearly 200 injured in the explosion that smashed several city blocks.

“West is a strong city,” Onjefu told the congregation that filled the church, its altar decorated with white blossoms.

Residents of the tiny town, about 80 miles south of Dallas and less than 20 miles north of Waco, stood together “in these trying moments,” he said.

“Let us be strong and move our beloved city ahead. God is with us. God bless us,” Onjefu said.

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