Baltimore turns to prayer after Key Bridge collapse disrupts regional infrastructure

Political and religious leaders in Baltimore, as well as Maryland and federal officials, called for prayers and attended prayer vigils after the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse on Tuesday sent several people into the water below and severely disrupted critical regional infrastructure.

The Key Bridge, the portion of the I-695 bypass that spans the Patapsco River, collapsed early Tuesday morning after a cargo ship leaving the Port of Baltimore crashed into the bridge, causing its rapid collapse.

Baltimore City Fire Department Chief James Wallace said at a press conference early Tuesday morning, “There were probably several people on the bridge at the time of the collapse, and … as a result, several people were in the water.”

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At least two people have been pulled from the water as authorities continue to search for six missing individuals who are presumed dead as of Wednesday afternoon. Slow waters and cold conditions hinder the search process.

State, local and federal elected officials, as well as faith leaders, are calling for prayers as the search for survivors continues.

Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott, a Democrat, described the bridge collapse as an “unthinkable tragedy” when he appeared alongside Wallace at the news conference.

“We must first and foremost pray for all those who are affected, those families,” he proclaimed.

Scott also urged people to “pray for our first responders and thank them, all of them working together: city, state, local to make sure we work through this tragedy.”

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski, a Democrat, offered a similar sentiment when he spoke at the news conference.

“I would just echo the mayor in lifting up prayers for those who are affected, but would also ask that our residents … pray for our first responders.”

Maryland Governor Wes Moore, a Democrat, issued a statement Tuesday after declaring a state of emergency. Moore expressed gratitude for first responders, stating, “We are grateful for the brave men and women who are working to save those involved and pray for the safety of all.”

President Joe Biden also weighed in on the bridge collapse in remarks at the White House on Tuesday.

He assured, “Our prayers are with everyone involved in this terrible accident and all the families, especially those who are waiting for news of their loved one right now.”

Archbishop William Lori, the leader of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Baltimore, released a statement responding to the bridge collapse on Tuesday.

“I am saddened, as you are, to learn of the tragic incident that suddenly led to the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge over the Baltimore harbor,” he said.

Lori urged the faithful to “pray with me for everyone involved, especially the victims traveling through the gap during the impact, the construction crews on site and all of the first responders acting with urgency to rescue survivors.”

“Let us join together in prayer asking the Lord to give comfort and strength as we endure this terrible tragedy,” Lori added.

Multiple churches held special services to pray for those who may have lost their lives and/or suffered injuries from the bridge collapse.

The Archdiocese of Baltimore divided a after from its publication, The Catholic Review, on Facebook Tuesday, noting that “more than 200 people” attended a “special 5:30 pm Mass at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen” in the Homeland neighborhood of Baltimore.

Scott took to Facebook Tuesday to invite people to join him and “faith Leaders from across the city in a moment of unity and comfort in response” to the bridge collapse by participating in a prayer vigil at Mt. Olive Baptist Church of Turner Station in nearby Dundalk, Maryland.

Scott and Olszewski were listed as participants at the prayer vigil, which took place between 5 and 6 p.m.

In addition to raising concerns about possible lives lost, the bridge collapse has other consequences.

As Biden pointed out describing the bridge as “one of the most important elements for the economy in the Northeast and the quality of life” that is “critical” for travel in the northeastern United States, “More than 30,000 vehicles cross the Francis Scott Key Bridge on a daily basis. “

The collapse of the bridge caused traffic to be redirected.

Additionally, ship traffic in the Port of Baltimore has been suspended, although it is still open for truck transactions. Biden identified the Port of Baltimore as “the main port in America for both import and export of cars and light trucks” which employs 15,000 people.


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