The Moss Point and Pascagoula communities are still shaken by the death of 12-year-old, Lorel Malone, the young man who died after a fight at Magnolia Middle School last week. Church on the Rock, Malone's home parish, is reaching out in an effort to help Malone's family and community heal. Church on the Rock leaders remember Malone as a jolly, cheerful boy who showed leadership even at his young age. Malone was only 12 years old when he died last week, but leaves a lasting impression on his church family. Chris Erwin, Associate Pastor at Church on the Rock, says, "Lorel came to church mostly by himself. He had a lot of friends here, friends from school when he attended school in Pascagoula. He had a lot of friends that came here and he came whenever he could, whenever he could get a ride from one of his friends, or sometimes he even walked to church, but he came to church here because he wanted to."
Malone helped with the Children's Ministry at the church, running arts and crafts and other programs with the young kids. John Harry, Associate Pastor at Church on the Rock, says, “He worked with some of our younger kids and that ability, you don't find that in a lot of kids, and you don't have that willingness and discipline to do as well.” Malone did a painting during a Children’s Ministry event just weeks before he died. The painting shows his servant's heart. Harry also says, "This painting, if you look at it, it says, ‘I will serve others,’ and I think that's a great echo for him. If we just take this event by itself, it’s a tragedy, but if we somehow take this event and rather than just mourn, but mourn and celebrate at the same time, then I think we'll really capture who Lorel was."
Funeral goers will sit in the exact same seats in the church where Malone and his friends sat each Sunday for worship services. Erwin also says, "We're going to appreciate the fact that Lorel is gone, but we're also going to appreciate the fact that Lorel left a great legacy even in his short 12 years. And we know that he's in a better place. And we're going to celebrate his life this Saturday." Both pastors say they'll remember Malone's ability to always make them laugh, his energetic youthful spirit in the church, and his beaming smile, the one they expect to see again one day on the other side. Services for Malone will be held at Church on the Rock on Saturday.
Visitation will be at noon and the funeral service at 1 p.m. Also, an account has been set up to help Malone's family with funeral and burial expenses. Donations can be made at any branch of Merchants & Marine Bank.