Guest Columnists

My Pentecost Trip To Uvalde, Texas

By Cruz-Teresa Rosero

I visited Uvalde, Texas on June 5, the feast of Pentecost, with a couple from the Charismatic Renewal from Austin, amid a hot sun and a temperature of 106 degrees Fahrenheit.

We began our pilgrimage at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church. We sat in silence as we looked at the impressive bulletin.

It had a red cover with the names of the victims of the massacre: the 19 children, two teachers, and the husband of one of them. In the two lower corners was, on a white background, Christ on the cross, on the left, and the symbol of the Holy Spirit on the right.

Christ, slaughtered on the cross, but at the same time giving life through His Holy Spirit.

The Holy Mass was con-celebrated by the Archbishop of San Antonio, Msgr. Gustavo García and Father Eduardo Morales, the pastor of the church.

Monsignor Garcia has been traveling frequently from San Antonio to Uvalde, an hour and a half, to shep- herd his wounded sheep from Uvalde.

In his homily he said: “We need to call on the Holy Spirit constantly.” He encouraged and comforted them, assuring them that they are not alone.

“We carry this cross together.” This message was reaffirmed by Father Morales, who also emphasized the need to forgive as a requirement to have peace. “Let us allow the Holy Spirit to walk with us,” he said as the Mass ended.

Our next stop was the school where the shooting took place.

I broke! Tears welled up in my eyes, my heart pounded, and I felt a lump in my throat. I was unable to pronounce any word.

Many ideas ran through my mind. I looked around me. I saw next to me a wom- an also with tears in her eyes. We connect- ed in our pain and feelings of helplessness and disbelief.

“I’m a teacher from Houston,” she told me. “I’m a teacher from New York,” I responded. Impulsively, crying, we hugged each other in a long and heartfelt hug. We said goodbye with a “God bless you, and God bless our children.”

Then we walked to another section. There we saw the photos of smiling faces of the 19 children. Impossible not to keep crying. At this sight, the heart seems paralyzed with pain. Feelings and thoughts stirred in my soul. “His future was slaughtered!”

Misael, Soledad, my fellow pilgrims and I began to pray. “Come, Holy Spirit, come, renew the face of the earth. Come, Lord, heal and console!”

We continued our pilgrimage to the Uvalde Park. There is a water fountain in the middle surrounded by flowers, pho- tos and memories. Classical music playing gives solemnity to the place. I sat in front of the fountain. I watched how the crystal water followed its course, rising, falling, running. “Forgive your people, Lord! May there be no more massacres, may the idolatry of weapons end, may families grow in unity, in peace and in love. Come Holy Spirit!”

We left Uvalde with a burning sun but overshad- owed by the clouds of pain and silence left by death. The question we all ask our- selves is, will the massacres stop? Unfortunately, history is teaching us that in every massacre there is pain, prayers and debates with promises of changes in gun

control. A survivor of the 1999 Columbine High School massacre said somberly, in a CNN interview after the Uvalde event, “We were told back then that a massacre would never happen again.”

The massacres in other classrooms, in universities theaters, supermarkets, churches, synagogues, and other places are marked in our souls. Let’s not forget every story! Each one of us can do something.

I keep the message that I brought from Uvalde, a card that I was given at the end of the Mass. The front has a teacher giv- ing classes to her children. On the back is written the prayer: “Lord, make me an instrument of Your Peace,” sealed with the Pentecost clamor: “Come, Holy Spirit, renew the face of the earth.”

Cruz-Teresa Rosero is a retired NYC public school teacher and a contributor for Nuestra Voz.