There's a good chance churches will be full the first Sunday after the tragic shootings in Connecticut that left 27 people dead.
Among the deceased, 20 school children from Sandy Hook Elementary School. Investigators say all of the students were either six or seven years of age.
Many will be leaning on their faith to cope with such a tragic event.
Pastor Ken Whitten is the senior pastor for Exciting Idlewild Baptist Church in Lutz. He says his congregation will be no exception.
"We will be praying [Sunday] as many, many churches will," Whitten explained.
The Pastor says he doesn't plan on changing his pre-planned sermon, but adds he will speak to the tragedy and its potential effects.
"It's in days like this that we need to focus on God," Whitten says. "Focus on prayer, focus on our own heart."
One thing he won't focus on is to attempt to answer the question "why" something like this could have happened.
"It's in times like this that I discovered as a pastor that God doesn't always give us the answer because he's the answer," Whitten said.
And while churches all over the Bay area will no doubt be saying an extra prayer Sunday, the prayers coming from Idlewild will be a bit more personal.
"It's not only tragic but for us at Idlewild personally, it's close," The Pastor added. "Christine, a member of our church, will be flying out tomorrow, flying to Connecticut to be with her family and her siblings."
Christine Carmody lost a niece in Friday's mass shooting.
Rachel D'Avino, 29, was an intern at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Pastor Whitten says Carmody is feeling pain over her loss.
"[Sunday] we will pray especially for Christine," Whitten added. "But we'll be praying for all of the victims of this senseless tragedy."
Sunday will be the first but probably not the last where people will pray to their God in an effort make sense of such a horrible crime.
"Of course [Sunday] we'll be praying for all of the victims and we'll be asking God's grace and God's mercy and comfort each one of those victims," said Whitten.
Carmody says her niece loved children and loved to help them develop into healthy happy adults.
She says Rachel had served as an intern at the school for a little more than one week.
Carmody says Rachel's boyfriend had just asked her parents for her hand in marriage and was planning to propose on Christmas Eve.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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