Funeral services are set to begin Tuesday in Uvalde, Texas, for the 19 children and two teachers killed in last week’s mass shooting at Robb Elementary School.
And the Rev. Eduardo Morales, the priest at Sacred Heart Catholic Church — the only Catholic church in Uvalde — will lead 12 of them, sometimes two a day, over the next two weeks.
“It’s as if one huge funeral that is not ending,” Morales, better known as “Father Eddy,” told ABC’s WFAA-TV affiliate.
“Everyone here knows someone who was killed,” he told the Washington Post after Saturday’s Mass. “I’m burying parishioners, but it’s people I’ve known all my life — and that’s what makes it difficult.”
Morales, who returned to Uvalde to lead Sacred Heart six years ago, has repeated the same message at church services since the massacre: “It’s OK to be angry. But that anger can’t turn into hate.”
“There’s going to be a lot of tears and a lot of sadness,” he said Saturday of the funerals to come. “But as we continue to celebrate their lives, they will turn into tears of joy.”
Funeral services are scheduled Tuesday for Amerie Jo Garza and Maite Rodriguez, both 10, after visitations were held Monday at the town’s two funeral homes. One of them — Hillcrest Memorial Funeral Home — is just steps from Robb Elementary, and had served as a shelter for students fleeing the gunman.
A dozen funerals are scheduled for this week. The Washington Post reports that volunteers from across the country have flown in to assist with “various aspects of the funerals.” Among them, according to the Texas Funeral Directors Association, are morticians who are “experts at the art of facial reconstruction.”
Since the shootings, hundreds of visitors from across the country have descended upon Uvalde, a town of about 16,000 people, 86 miles west of San Antonio.
President Biden and first lady Jill Biden visited Uvalde on Sunday, stopping at a makeshift memorial in front of the school filled with flowers and photos of the 21 victims. They then attended Mass at Sacred Heart Catholic Church.
As he departed the church service, someone shouted, “Do something,” at Biden.
The president responded: “We will.”