The death toll now stands at 15 in the crash of a charter bus that skidded off a freeway north of Dallas. [...]
More than a dozen victims were reported in critical condition. The bus was operating illegally when it blew a tire, smashed into a guardrail and tipped over. [...]
Most of the passengers were from the Vietnamese Martyrs Church and two other mostly Vietnamese congregations in Houston. They were on their way to Carthage, Mo., for an annual open-air festival honoring the Virgin Mary.
The Marian Days pilgrimage, begun in the late 1970s, attracts thousands of Catholics of Vietnamese descent and includes a large outdoor Mass each day, entertainment and camping at night.
"Please pray for us," said Holly Nguyen, a 38-year-old church member who was following behind the bus in a car but did not see the wreck. She anxiously awaited word of her father, who was on the bus when it ran off the road about 65 miles north of Dallas, close to the Oklahoma line. [...]
The Rev. Joseph Vu, a priest at the Vietnamese Martyrs Church and vicar for the 30,000 to 35,000 Vietnamese Catholics in the region, was not on the trip but arrived at a relief station set up for victims' families at a church in nearby Denison.
"I'm going to tell people we don't blame anybody," he said. "This happened like Katrina, like Challenger. What we can do is pray." He added: "God will comfort them. Tell people to keep trusting in God. Do not blame anybody. Do not ask why. Now we just help each other to get through this."
I will be offering my rosary tonight for the victims and their families, for the injured survivors, and for all those impacted by this deadly crash. Please join me; if you wish to mention in the comment box what prayers you will say or Masses you will attend in the next few days for this intention please feel free to do so.
Heavenly Father, we commend to your care all the souls of the faithful departed, especially today the victims of this accident. Please grant eternal rest to them, and grant to the sorrowing left behind swift healing and comfort in their time of grief. Amen.