Shortly after wishing his coworkers at St. Mary Parish in Rochester a happy Thanksgiving and leaving for a long weekend on Nov. 27, parish custodian Steven Killings was shot on Colvin Street and fought for his life at Strong Memorial Hospital, parish officials said.
Killings, 24, died later on Nov. 27, according to the parish.
There will be an ecumenical prayer service in Killings’ memory at 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, at the parish, 15 St. Mary’s Place.
Deacon Dave Palma, the parish’s pastoral administrator, said the parish is in shock.
"Steven was a wonderful, kind, gentle young man, and he was very dedicated and proud of the work he did here in the building," Deacon Palma said. "Everyone wished him a happy Thanksgiving and an hour and 20 minutes later, he was in the hospital, fighting for his life."
According to Maureen O’Connor, the parish’s business manager, Killings came to St. Mary Parish through his friendship with former parish employee Katie Kantz.
"He was a gift here to all of us," O’Connor said.
Kantz, formerly a school teacher, had taught Killings and several others in the third grade. She reconnected with them after reading a newspaper story about their high-school graduating class, O’Connor said. Kantz and her husband began mentoring three of the boys featured, including Killings. When there was an opening on the parish staff for a custodian, Kantz suggested Killings, O’Connor recalled.
"He was sweet, very funny, kind and respectful," O’Connor said. "He always laughed. He just had this big goofy grin on his face all the time. He worked hard and he was looking to make something of his life."
O’Connor said she last had communicated with Killings by text on Nov. 27 to let him know he wouldn’t be needed to clear snow on Thursday morning at the church, and she told him he was off from work until Saturday. At 1:30 p.m., she received a text back: "Happy Thanksgiving." An hour later, he was in the hospital, she said.
This past weekend’s Masses were somber as parishioners dealt with the shock of Killings’ loss, she said.
"We sat in Mass yesterday and thought about how he touched everything in here," she said the morning of Dec. 2.Tags: Gun Violence, Monroe County East