Lifelong South Boston residents Debbie and Janet Platukis, like so many others, were unnerved by the slaying of Amy Lord, kidnapped from her apartment just a quarter-mile from their home on E Street.
“People are scared,” said Debbie Platukis, 58. “You don’t know who it is. You don’t know where they are.”
The sisters lingered outside the St. Vincent De Paul Church near their home after a Saturday afternoon Mass in which the Rev. Joseph White, the church’s pastor, offered prayers for the slain 24-year-old Wilbraham native and those mourning her loss.
“All the churches in South Boston are praying this weekend for Amy and the Lord family and friends, and the Wilbraham and our own South Boston communities,” White said in an interview before the Mass began in the gray stone church on E Street.
From the pulpit, White offered support to Lord’s cousin, Somerville resident Kristyn Dusel, who was among about 60 who gathered for the Mass. Dusel declined to speak to a reporter.
Debbie Platukis said it brought some comfort to be able to “show some support for her family.”
“It’s Southie Strong,” Platukis said. “We survive.”
Parishioner Joe Griffiths said Lord’s death felt raw.
“As her family grieves, we all grieve,” he said. “This is our home, and we’ve lost such a young life in our community.”
Dorchester Street, where Lord lived, was quiet on Saturday afternoon. A few passersby briefly stopped by her apartment at 124 Dorchester St., where a memorial of candles and flowers had sprung up, lining an adjacent brick wall.
A young woman who was walking past murmured, “This is so sad.”
A small, beige teddy bear wearing a green ribbon was among the items left at the memorial. Beside the bear, someone had left a gray Bentley Athletics T-shirt. Lord graduated from Bentley University in 2011.
On a nearby pole was tied a white ribbon, which has become a symbol of support in South Boston and in Wilbraham, where Lord grew up.
“It’s horrible,” said 14-year-old South Boston resident Baileigh McCarthy, before stopping to look at the memorial. “That’s the only word to describe it.”
‘As her family grieves, we all grieve. . . . We’ve lost such a young life in our community.’ — Joe Griffiths, parishioner at St. Vincent De Paul Church in South Boston
As part of a continuing discussion on neighborhood safety, public officials are planning a meeting Monday evening to discuss Lord’s slaying and two other attacks on women in South Boston.
The meeting, to be held at 7 p.m. at Tynan Elementary School, will allow residents to air their concerns and interact with public safety officials, said Boston City Councilor Bill Linehan, who is hosting the event along with US Representative Stephen F. Lynch, state Senator Linda Dorcena Forry, and state Representative Nick Collins.
“For the past few days, I’ve spent a lot of time walking the streets of South Boston in the evenings and early mornings,” Linehan said. “Young women are truly concerned, neighbors are concerned for young people, and so we thought it was a good idea for residents to hear from us during this time of uncertainty.”
Officials from the Boston police and State Police, the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, and the state’s Probation Department have been invited to attend.
On Friday evening, a steady stream of rain fell as about a dozen men and women gathered outside Lord’s apartment. Beneath umbrellas, they held candles and prayed.
“She needs our support,” said Patrick O’Malley, 67, among the first at the vigil. “It’s a tragedy.”
Donald Wozniak, 48, who helped organize the vigil, passed out a sheet of prayers and spoke. He said Lord’s death has been felt by all in South Boston, whether they knew her personally or not.
“We have a community here,” he said. “Southie is different from the rest of Boston. We work together.”
The group formed a circle and sang “Amazing Grace,” voices blending with the patter of the rain and then gaining strength. They then recited The Lord’s Prayer in unison as candles were lit. Nearby, some had left flowers, purple and yellow and white.
After the vigil, Sean Malone, 52, lingered. He had once lived at 124 Dorchester St., he said, and could not believe what had happened.
“For this to happen here is surreal,” he said. “I just know we’re a better community than this.”Jeremy C. Fox can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @jeremycfox. Nikita Lalwani can be reached at email@example.com.