FOX47 NEWS - Mass in Janesville for GM Workers

Jeff Angileri
Dec 16, 2008, 10:49 PM

People at St. William Catholic Church said a special mass for all those affected by the soon to close General Motors plant.

Despite the wind, snow, and cold weather, dozens of people showed up to listen, comfort one another, and most importantly, pray for a future.

Like most special masses, organizers specifically chose the music, the readings, even the prayers to elicit a certain mood -- this time -- one of hope.

We just want them to know that we're behind them, said parishioner Pat Nehls. They're the backbone of the community. We'll do whatever we can to assist them.

Bishop Robert Morlino of Madison presided over the mass. He asked parishioners to find courage to face the personal and economic challenges ahead.

We're here to realize the fact that in life we don't always get what we like, he said. Sometimes it's serious, in terms of unemployment.

With seven days and counting, GM workers still can not fathom the day the auto plant will shut it doors.

At times I get to thinking is it really happening? said Jim Otto, former GM worker. It's hard to believe that's it's going to take place, of all the things I was involved in over the years.

We'll it's very painful, said GM worker Bill Brennan. It's affecting a lot of people in the community. Of course the workers, but a lot of the good things that we do for the community. We make a very good product and have a very good work force. It's very sad to see this come to a close.

With no signs the Janesville plant will reopen anytime soon, and doubt lingering over the auto bailout plan, people are now putting their faith in a higher power.

It looks dark right now, there's darkness in our world, there's discouragement, when they leave here tonight, I want them to feel hope, a sense of hope, said Father John Auby.

Tuesday night's mass started about an hour late, because weather delayed the bishops' arrival.

But with thousands soon to be out of work, people in Janesville say they'll have to get used to waiting.

The GM plant will close down December 23rd.

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