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One priest, 11 funerals: The challenging job of Uvalde’s only Catholic priest

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MICHAEL M. SANTIAGO | GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA | AFP

Rev. Eduardo Morales speaks during a vigil for the victims of the Robb Elementary School mass shooting at Sacred Heart Catholic Church.

Cerith Gardiner - published on 06/03/22

Rev. Eduardo faces the emotional task of celebrating the lives of Uvalde's children slain in the recent shooting.

Rev. Eduardo Morales is the only priest at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, the only Catholic parish in Uvalde, Texas. As a result, Fr. Eddy, as he’s known by his parishioners, has the heart-wrenching task of leading 11 funerals over the next couple of weeks for 12 of the victims of the mass shooting at Robb Elementary school.

“It’s as if it’s one huge funeral that is not ending,” he shared with, WFAA-TV, an affiliate of ABC. He also told the Washington Post that it’s a particularly difficult task as “everyone here knows someone who was killed. I’m burying parishioners, but it’s people I’ve known all my life — and that’s what makes it difficult.”

It’s a role that no priest could imagine having to carry out, but it’s one that will provide so much comfort to the bereaved, considering Fr. Eddy has been in the parish for the last six years and no doubt presided over some of these children’s first sacraments.

Despite the difficult role, Fr. Eddy has been sharing one consistent message in all his Masses: “It’s OK to be angry. But that anger can’t turn into hate.”

As he pointed out on Saturday: “There’s going to be a lot of tears and a lot of sadness. But as we continue to celebrate their lives, they will turn into tears of joy.”

Thankfully Fr. Eddy can lean on Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller, who leads the Catholic faithful in 19 Texas counties, during this emotionally demanding time. The archbishop has been instrumental as a “prayerful presence”‘ for the grieving families, and also presided over the funeral of a teacher who was killed, as well as her husband who died just two days after the shooting.

A number of priests and deacons from neighboring areas are coming in to help Fr. Eddy with daily Masses and the funerals. This will no doubt prove vital support as he faces the difficult ask of celebrating so many young lives taken in such horrific circumstances.

Since the shooting our prayers have understandably been centered on the victims and their families. Fr. Eddy would no doubt welcome our prayers as well over the next few weeks as he shares the love and mercy of Christ with his flock.

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Priesthood
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