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Due to the wind, attendees used phone camera flashes instead of candles during prayer vigil Thursday in Maricopa.

MARICOPA — Vice Mayor Henry Wade hosted a candlelight prayer vigil for victims of the recent mass shootings in Texas and Ohio. The event brought six pastors from churches all around the city to share their prayers.

“I am very pleased with the turnout of the event,” Wade said of the Thursday vigil.

Prayers also were offered for the communities, youths, first responders and residents of those areas that were affected. The event ultimately gave a chance for the residents of Maricopa to come together in unity during tough times for the nation.

Francisco Arboleda, pastor of Shiloh Fellowship in Maricopa, recognized that this is an ideal time for him and others to come together in faith to pray.

“Here we are honoring, not the mass shooting, but those who are hurt because of the mass shooting and horrible tragic things that have happened, and the reality is that we’re facing some evil in the world today,” Arboleda said. “But for us, for me as a pastor, it is our faith that brings us together, it is the faith in the Lord that helps us through these times. And so for us, as a community, that wasn’t first-hand directly affected, we offer our prayers to those that have been affected.”

Even though Maricopa is a growing area, it still has a small community feeling, which creates a chance for everyone to come together, he said.

“The reality is that our one thing that’s amazing about our city is that we have a heart of compassion.,” Arboleda said “And we are a tight-knit community and there are many beautiful families and youth in our entire city. We are so blessed to live in the city that we live in.”

He hopes that this will create a light to other communities to take action when events like this occur.

“We pray that other communities will take the example that we have helped to offer here and partner with us and other churches around the nation who are praying for those affected in this hour,” he said.

Paul Skalicky, an eight-year resident of Maricopa, also praised the community and vice mayor for organizing the event.

“I thought this event was great, what I really feel in times like this is that we need to come together as a community and not every place will provide that,” Skalicky said. “I love Maricopa.”

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