Follow KDKA-TV: Facebook | Twitter
OAKLAND (KDKA) — The Pittsburgh Catholic Diocese offered a special mass of peace and healing for the victims of the opioid epidemic Sunday.
It’s become a tragic, almost daily occurrence. There were more than 600 overdose deaths in Allegheny County in 2016, and 115 Americans die every day from opioid overdoses.
“You pick up the newspaper like I do every day, and you see so many people, both young and old, who have died because of the opioid crisis,” Bishop David Zubik said.
“It’s widespread. It’s so difficult. The answers don’t come easy, but I think that the church’s answer so far as been the prayer part,” David Saville, the father of a recovering addict, said.
At St. Paul Cathedral in Oakland, there was a mass of remembrance and healing for those who have suffered from drug addiction, and the families who are suffering, too.
“So I think the purpose of our celebration here today is of hope, to say, ‘You aren’t alone.’ Take a look at all the people that are coming here to pray together,” Zubik said.
“I believe God is helping me. I come to church more now, and I even beg God, ‘Please help me,'” recovering addict Rachel Ugoletti said.
Ugoletti says she has overdosed several times and suffered grand mal seizures.
“Even my mom, who just recently passed from cancer… her last words were, ‘Rachel, please get sober,'” she said, “and I still couldn’t even do it for her.”
But she refuses to give up.
“Take a look at all the people that are coming here to pray together, and we want you to know that in any way that we can, we want to help you,” Zubik said. “We’re gonna start here by lifting it up to God, but we know we have other stuff that we need to be able to do to help people in a practical way.”
This was the first of several events the diocese is planning to provide spiritual guidance for the drug crisis.