Fr. Clete Kiley, a Catholic priest from Chicago, felt evil in the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. As he walked the halls with hotel staff, he felt something “push him back” away from the hotel room, he told Newsweek.
Evil undoubtedly had happened there. On October 1st, Stephen Paddock shot off rounds of bullets, killing dozens of people at the music festival happening in the square below.
Fr. Kiley visited Las Vegas with a group from UNITE HERE!, a union of hospitality workers. On October 18th, the hotel asked him to visit to talk with and comfort the staff who had been scarred by the violence.
“I really felt like I was being called upon to be a priest and be a spiritual leader,” he said.
The priest was praying with a few hundred staff members and comforting as they cried when the hotel manager approached him with another request. She asked Fr. Kiley to bless Stephen Paddock’s hotel room. The room had recently been released back to the hotel by the FBI.
Fr. Kiley felt the pushback when he entered the 32nd floor of the hotel, where Paddock’s room was located. He came there to “reclaim the space from ‘where evil had been done,’” says Newsweek, but he sensed that something didn’t want him to do that.
“It was an evil that shook him—the effects of the shooting rippled through the Las Vegas Strip and around the world after Paddock killed 58 people and injured more than 500 on October 1,” says Newsweek.
When he opened the door to the hallway, the priest says, “I felt like I was being pushed back, like don’t come in here,” he said. “On the inside, I’m going, 'Oh no, you have to go.'”
Fr. Kiley pushed forward into the room. There he saw the aftereffects of Paddock’s carnage. Bullet holes sprayed across the room and plaster splattered the floor.
As he walked into the room, Fr. Kiley began reciting the “St. Michael” prayer, which begins “St. Michael, the Archangel, defend us in battle.”
“When I stepped in the room, I really felt a real profound silence,” he said. “I immediately noticed the broken windows covered from outside. It was very powerful to see the physical damage.”
Fr. Kiley also told Newsweek about how palpable the evil was—an evil he couldn’t comprehend.
“This is what we call the mystery of evil,” he said. “You cannot use reason to put the pieces of this together.”
After saying the “St. Michael” prayer, the priest asked the Holy Spirit to enter the room, blessing it with holy water and a palm branch.
After blessing the room, Kiley says he “instantly felt comfort wash over him.” When he returned downstairs, the hotel staff also seemed comforted by his blessing.
“You could see people go, ‘Thank god, that’s good,’” he said. “I really saw the whole thing as part of a healing process. A small part of a healing process.”
Kiley told Newsweek that the hotel may ask other religious leaders to bless the room as well. Please continue to pray for everyone impacted by the Las Vegas shooting. It may have left constant news coverage, but people are still suffering.
In other news, another tragedy has occurred. 47 dead, dozens wounded in an explosion.