January 11, 2019 08:17 PM
St. Peter's Catholic Church kept a candle burning inside its sanctuary the entire time Jayme Closs was missing.
The candle symbolized the community's faith that Jayme would eventually return home.
What happened Thursday night in Gordon, the St. Peter's congregation believes was divine intervention.
"God was listening to everybody's begging, multiple times we just said 'please,'" said Patty Gerber, St. Peter's parish director. "I believe in miracles, too. Whether you call this a miracle or not, I think the prayers of her family especially were answered."
Gerber teaches the eighth grade religious education class at St. Peter's which Jayme attended until her abduction.
Wednesday night at class, Gerber set our Jayme's binder along with the other students' binders. Twenty-four hours later, Jayme was found.
"It was a good feeling last night to find out she's on her way home and alive. And the night before I had done that, thinking to myself that I'm keeping hope (the binder) is going to be used some day. I'm not ready to put her binder away," Gerber said.
In late October, St. Peter's held the funerals for Denise and James Closs. The family requested the church videotape the service for Jayme, hopeful she would one day be able to watch it.
"They have that for her when she's ready to be able to say goodbye in some form or fashion to her parents," Gerber said.
The prayer book just inside the front door of the church is filled with intentions for Jayme from parishioners. However, the church resisted putting anything on its sign out front along Highway 8. But once word came Jayme had been found, Gerber and others immediately updated the marquis to read "Welcome Home Jayme." It's a message to those passing by about the power of prayer.
"I said, 'Let's get on that sign board and welcome her home and praise God," Gerber said. "I was so excited to put that message out there because that's something we can celebrate."
But despite the joy of Jayme being found alive, there's still sadness at St. Peter's over the loss of Denise and James Closs. Gerber considered Denise Closs a friend.
"(Thursday) night, it was joy that Jayme was found but it was also sadness knowing her mom wasn't going to be the one to greet her," Gerber said.
Updated: January 11, 2019 08:17 PM
Created: January 11, 2019 08:08 PM
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