The family of Mollie Tibbetts asked people not to be angry at God in the wake of her death, but to instead follow her example of living a positive life.
Morgan Collum, Tibbetts’ cousin, said that the 20-year-old University of Iowa student, whose sudden disappearance last month drew international attention, always tried to find the good in everyone she met.
“Please, don’t be mad at God for taking Mollie away from us,” Collum told the crowd of more than 1,200 people attending the Mass of the Resurrection held for Tibbetts on Sunday, according to the Des Moines Register. “Rather, praise God for His perfect creation in making a soul so sweet, so pure and so caring to all.”
Jake Tibbetts, Mollie’s older brother, noted that his sister always worked hard to bring people together despite their differences.
“You’ve seen how hard Mollie is working upstairs in Heaven,” he said Sunday, according to Fox News.
Cristhian Bahena Rivera, a 24-year-old illegal immigrant from Mexico, was charged last week with first-degree murder for Tibbetts’ death.
Tibbetts, a second-year psychology student at the University of Iowa, had been missing since July 18 when she went out for a run, never to return. Her case prompted a nationwide investigation involving hundreds of leads, but ended in tragedy.
Rivera led police to Tibbetts’ body early last Tuesday. On Wednesday, the Iowa State Medical Examiner confirmed that the body was that of Tibbetts. Initial reports ruled the cause of death to be homicide resulting from multiple “sharp force injuries.”
Mollie’s father, Rob Tibbetts, made it clear in his eulogy Sunday that harbors no animosity toward the local Hispanic community, who supported and embraced him during the search for his daughter.
“The Hispanic community are Iowans. They have the same values as Iowans,” Tibbetts said. “As far as I’m concerned, they’re Iowans with better food.”
The Rev. Corey Close, pastor at St. Patrick Catholic Church in Brooklyn, where the young woman attended, said that Tibbetts was a “bright, shining light” who touched others with her “infectious joy and smiling.”
“When I think of the life of Mollie Tibbetts and her tragic death, I wonder why she is gone and I am still here,” he said in his homily.
The priest then called on believers to find hope in the resurrection.
“Do not let Mollie die in vain,” he urged. “Rededicate yourselves to live a good life, a faithful life, a life of goodness and compassion. It is so easy to be bitter, to feel like we have nothing to contribute. But Mollie’s energy, her smile and her tenacity for doing good reminded me who I am called to be.”
Fr. Close previously asked the community to forgive Rivera of the murder.
“We need to pray for a spirit of forgiveness for the one who did this,” the priest said at a prayer vigil last week. “Faith teaches us that Christ came to forgive us. We’re all in need of forgiveness. We’re all sinners. None of us are exempt.”
(H/T: Christian Post)