Reverend Juan Sosa of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church told CNN that about 20 to 25 of his parishioners are missing after the Champlain South Towers collapsed last Thursday. The parish is only a five minute walk from the building.
Sosa said he shared many stages with the victims of the collapse. The parish priest notably worked in close collaboration with Marcus Guara, a parishioner found dead. Sosa baptized Guara’s daughter, Emma Guara, and helped her other daughter, Lucia Guara, with her First Communion. The two daughters and their mother are still missing.
Sosa also said that Hilda Noriega, the 12th victim found dead after the collapse, was a close member of her ward.
“I organized her husband’s funeral years ago. And now her son just called me this morning about the funeral being prepared,” the pastor said.
Throughout the past week, Sosa has provided support to the Surfside community. Sunday, the priest created a binder of remembrance, listing the names of parishioners missing. Sosa told CNN he then invited the community to add the names of other victims, regardless of their religious affiliation.
“So we have a little symbol – the paschal candle that is lit all day until evening that represents the resurrection of Christ for us and that we receive a baptism, as well as the flowers,” Sosa said.
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