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Celis family attends special mass

Hundreds attended the special service at St. Joseph's the Celis family parish.

Celis family attends special mass

CREATED Apr 29, 2012

Reporter: Valerie Cavazos
Web Producer: Chuck Meyer

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) -- Dressed in purple shirts -- Isabel's favorite color -- the parents were whisked away from the church -- not wanting to speak to media -- but inside the St. Joseph Parish -- they had sat in the front row during the hour and a half mass -- that included a rosary.
Some of the parishioners heard about today's special service and returned to church to pray for the return of Isabel.  Norma Hogate, a parishioner, told KGUN 9 OYS, "I want to make a special prayer for Isabel, and I have a lot of faith in that prayer and I hope that it can help to bring her back."

Father Miquel Mariano, who has spoken and prayed with the parents this past week, led the service intended for Isabel. The only help the parents said they wanted from the church were prayers. The Bishop Gerald Kicanas sent a letter to the congregation -- expressing his regret for not being there and extending his support and promise of continued prayers until Isabel is returned.

Family members brought some of Isabel's favorite items to show the congregation -- a stuffed polar bear with the words BFF on the dress --- and her baseball cap. After the rosary, a line of about 30 parishioners hugged the parents, who welcomed their gestures of  sympathy and support. And before the church cleared out -- the parents quickly left -- with these words -- sent by a diocese spokeswoman, "Isabell's family asks that the public continue to pray for the safe return of their daughter. And also wanted eveyone to know of the outpouring of community support. It means a great deal to them."

The parents had asked the media to stay at a distance and we were not allowed to take our cameras in the church. More than 300 people attended the service and 90 stayed for the rosary.