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5 dead, priest among injured, after SUV plows into Wisconsin parade

John Burger - published on 11/22/21

Archdiocese of Milwaukee asks for prayers following Sunday's tragedy

Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki of Milwaukee issued a videotaped statement Monday regarding the tragedy that took place in the suburb of Waukesha the day before and how people of all faiths are joining together as a community to find hope and healing.

A priest and several Catholic parishioners and school children were among the injured when an SUV sped through a Christmas parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin, Sunday afternoon.

Five people were killed and 40 injured.

Cassie Duck, a spokeswoman for the Catholic Community of Waukesha, a collaboration of four parishes, said Monday morning, “We are aware of parishioners and Waukesha Catholic students that were injured.” Duck referred Aleteia to an archdiocesan statement and declined further comment, but clarified that, “The Catholic community of Waukesha was walking in the parade.”

Monica Cardenas, Director of Stewardship and Communication for the Catholic Community of Waukesha, a Milwaukee suburb, posted on the community’s Facebook page Sunday night: “We have confirmed that several parishioners have been injured and are hospitalized. 

“Despite this horrific event, we will call on the Holy Spirit and come together as a community with Fr. Matthew [Widder, pastor] and Fr. Chuck [Wrobel, parish priest] leading the Rosary tonight (8:30pm) on Facebook. Please join us to pray for those who were injured,” Cardenas continued. “A prayer service is being planned for tomorrow night.”

Sandra Peterson, Communication Director of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, said in a statement Sunday night, “Our prayers are with the people who have been injured and killed during the tragic incident in Waukesha. Among the injured are one of our Catholic priests, as well as multiple parishioners and Waukesha Catholic school children.

Neither the priest nor any other victims have been identified.

“Please join us in prayer for all those involved, their families, and those who are traumatized from witnessing the horrible scene,” Peterson said. 

A “person of interest” was in custody, Waukesha Police Chief Dan Thompson said, but he gave no details about the person or any possible motive. The Associated Press Monday morning reported an anonymous police source saying the driver of the vehicle might have been fleeing from another crime.

The parade incident took place just north of Carroll University, which was on lockdown for several hours Sunday. Carroll University President Cindy Gnadinger tweeted, “I am deeply saddened by what occurred today in Waukesha. My thoughts and prayers are with those who were affected by this tragedy. To allow our campus community to heal, classes are canceled this week. Please take special care and enjoy the treasured time with your families.”

Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers said he and his wife, Kathy, were “praying for Waukesha tonight and all the kids, families, and community members affected by this senseless act.”

AP noted that the parade, held each year on the Sunday before Thanksgiving, is sponsored by the city’s Chamber of Commerce. This year’s, the 59th, had the theme of “comfort and joy.”

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