Hundreds of mourners attend funeral of murdered Covington priest Otis Young

Published: Dec. 5, 2022 at 7:13 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Hundreds of mourners made their way to St. Peter Catholic Church in Covington on Monday (Dec. 5) to pay their last respects to slain priest Otis Young.

St. Tammany Parish authorities say Young, 71, and 73-year-old longtime church worker Ruth Prats were beaten and stabbed to death before their burned bodies were found Nov. 28. Antonio Tyson, a convicted rapist recently released from state prison, has been booked with the murders.

People came from around the New Orleans area, and many waited in line to get inside the church during the visitation and for the funeral Mass. So many people showed up, additional chairs were placed outside the sanctuary as an overflow area.

Harry Matte said he worked alongside Young.

“He meant a lot to the whole parish,” Matte said. “He was a natural-born leader. I was fortunate enough to do some ministry work with him several years ago, so this is a huge loss for the parish, huge loss. God rest his soul.”

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Sharon Dennis was choked up as she spoke of Young.

“I’m just heartbroken,” she said. “Father Otis was a good person, very thoughtful, very kind, very appreciative and the community has a big loss.”

Archbishop Gregory Aymond said many are struggling with the way Young and Prats died.

“It’s a very sad day and it’s a day of great mourning,” Aymond said. “And I daresay that all of us are still trying to put some sense to this. We’re still trying to put our arms around the shock that we are still experiencing a week later.”

He said some of the faithful are questioning why it happened.

“A lot of people are asking -- and very rightfully so -- where was Jesus when this was happening?” Aymond said. “And I think it’s very clear to me that Jesus was present when this was happening, and he was crying. Crying and crying and saying to the person, ‘Stop, stop.’ But we have free will.”

Tyson, 49, was transported to the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola last weekend, after authorities said he tried to escape from the St. Tammany Parish jail.

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