Originally created 02/03/03

Sunday services recall sacrifice of astronauts



COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Whether it was in a prayer, or just a moment of reflection, churchgoers across South Carolina remembered the seven astronauts who died Saturday when the space shuttle Columbia broke apart.

"It was in everyone's minds," said Myda Tompkins, 43, before Sunday services at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Columbia.

At Columbia's First Baptist Church, music minister Steve Phillips asked the congregation to pray for the astronauts after the opening hymn.

"Lord, we're reminded today that life is but a vapor that appeareth and fadeth away," he said.

At Shandon Baptist Church in Columbia, the Rev. Dick Lincoln said a special prayer for the astronauts, their families and the nation after conducting several baptisms.

St. Joseph's, Monsignor Charles H. Rowland asked hundreds of parishioners to pray for the Columbia crew during the 9 a.m. service.

"I think our thoughts are with the rest of the nation," Rowland said before Sunday mass. "Please remember the crew and their families."

After mass, Rowland said it was important to remember the astronauts

"I think this is something that touched the heart of the nation, and the heart is hurting," he said. "We need to have prayers for those gallant men and women who died and for their families who are struggling now to try to understand."