LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — The Catholic Newman Center held a service Thursday night to pray for Thomas "Lofton" Hazelwood, 18, who passed away Monday due to "presumed alcohol toxicity."
Two days after they gathered outside the church for a rosary service, University of Kentucky students returned to pray for Hazelwood and his family.
"A lot of us don't quite know how to process it yet," said UK sophomore Karys Whitehead. "People don't really know where to turn at this time, so I'm very thankful that the Newman Center is giving everyone a chance to grieve together."
Whitehead regularly attends mass. She did not know Hazelwood, but she said she felt a special calling to attend services Thursday night.
"I remember I was pulling into bible study Monday night and I saw the ambulances and the firetrucks down the street," Whitehead said. "All I could do was pray. I didn't know who was involved, but prayer is so powerful in these times, so I just sat down and prayed."
During the service, Father Steve Roberts acknowledged the pain that so many are feeling during this difficult time.
"This is a time when we need each other," Father Roberts said. "So reach out. Reach out to family and friends. Reach out and support each other, love each other, reach out to your church community."
Father Roberts also encouraged students to seek guidance through counseling services on campus.
Hazelwood's visitations are Friday, October 22, 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. and 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 23 at Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church in Henderson, Ky. His funeral mass will follow Saturday's visitation at 12 p.m.