Somber supporters of a seriously-injured Murrieta high school senior held a prayer vigil Sunday night at the church she attends.
Kaitlyn Parra, a 16-year-old who had just entered her senior year at Murrieta Valley High School, was while walking on the side of Prielipp Road in Wildomar. She remains in a coma induced by doctors to stabilize her brain injuries.
Nearly 200 family, friends and well-wishers gathered at , where Kaitlyn and her parents worship. Jarilyn Parra and Carlos Parra, her mother and father, huddled with family in the rear of the church. Jarilyn clutched prayer beads as she wrapped her arms around those next to her.
"Every day God asks us to sacrifice," Deacon Pat Necerato said before he led the group in prayer. "Sometimes he calls us to small sacrifices. Sometimes he calls us to very, very large sacrifices."
Necerato said emails of support for Kaitlyn were pouring in from prayer groups around the world. He read out messages sent from New York, Puerto Rico and Australia.
Kelsey Flaig, a 16-year-old Murrieta Valley sophomore who works with Kaitlyn on the school newspaper staff, looked dazed as she left the vigil.
"It was a shock to everyone," Kelsey said. "I came tonight to offer my prayers."
Anthony Necerato, 18, said he exchanged text messages with Kaitlyn just 15 minutes before she was hit. Their conversation was light-hearted, he said.
"She said she was having a great day," said Necerato, a recent Murrieta Valley graduate who had grown close to Kaitlyn in past few months. “I was speechless when I heard.”
St. Martha’s Youth Minister Chris Mueller organized the rally through Facebook appeals to Kaitlyn’s friends. A “Support Kaitlyn Parra” Facebook page was flooded with comments over the last week encouraging the Parra family to stay strong.
“This is what we do; this is what we are,” Mueller said. “When one of our family is hurting we want to help them.”