TODAY   |  April 19, 2013

West, Texas pastors: Recovery will be a long process

Father Ed Karasek and Dr. John Crowder, who last night led a nondenominational candlelight service in West, Texas, talk about how the small town is coping in the aftermath of Wednesday’s fertilizer plant explosion.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> on this. an emotional interfaith prayer service that was held at st. mary's catholic church in town last night. i was told the church can hold 1,000 people. there must have been 1,400 people in attendance or half the town's population. i'm joined by the pastor at st. mary's assumption catholic church and the pastor at the first baptist church . good morning to you. it was an emotional night in your church last night. take me through the spirits of the people right now.

>> they're grieving going through the stages of grief and they lost their homes and lost loved ones. reality is going to set in. the anger. depression. it's going to be hard. they have to recover and support one another.

>> and reverend, at some point last night you said this town is forever changed . we have to accept that. how has it been changed?

>> well, i mean, clearly just the way we see life has changed. we kind of take things for granted. we take each other for granted. we take the lord for granted. now we've been reminded about how important people are and how important it is for us to work together and to depend on the lord.

>> the death toll is still uncertain here. have you had a chance to assess how many members of your own congregations have been lost in this tragedy?

>> we really haven't. we don't know very much about it yet. there's still so much questions out there. as far as i know, first baptist didn't lose anybody. we have some folks who have been injured badly but as far as i know we haven't lost anybody.

>> there have been messages of support coming in from all around the world. and father ed, you received a message from the pope.

>> he tweeted. he asked for the whole world to pray for our church and pray for our community.

>> what do you need now? the people who want to help across the country, they're watching this tragedy unfold, what would be the way they could support the people in west, texas?

>> well, two things. first, spiritually the biggest thing we need is prayer. when the media goes away and attention goes away, don't forget us. keep praying for us. this is going to be a long, long process. and then the other thing is the need that i see is actually going to be in a few days when we can finally get into town. many of us have not even seen our homes yet. most of the town is still locked down. when we can get in there, that's when we're going to need help. cleaning up and figuring out is this house safe and putting our lives back together.

>> thank you both, gentlemen. i know you have a lot of work to do in the coming days. savannah, as i though it back to you, i want to tell you at the end of that interfaith prayer service as people were leaving, there was a spontaneous moment where people in that church stopped and began singing " amazing grace ." there wasn't a dry eye in that church. savannah, back to you.

>> they are leaning on that amazing grace this morning. matt lauer following another huge story in the town of west, texas. thank you. we'll check back in with you. we're