Terry and I left early for church on Sunday morning, and we left together which is rare as Terry has to be early for choir practice and I often stay late for coffee fellowship cleanup or a meeting. This Sunday we both needed to be early and we both would be staying afterwards for a luncheon. One of the hardest working church members would be away on a holiday trip and had asked Terry and me to fill in on some of her usual jobs. I also had communion set up and clean up. I learned, after arriving at the fellowship hall that more help would be needed with lunch cleanup. Terry and I would be staying later than expected and staying busier.
When I leave for church, I turn the ringer off on my phone. I may take the device out during the morning to check for messages, but I keep it silenced. Due to the busy schedule, I didn’t get around to looking at my phone until we were back in the car, around 1:30, heading home. There was the shocking news–mass killing at a small church in a small town in Texas. I thought it was perhaps “fake news” as it seemed so absurd.
Checking with the reliable news sources, I found it was true. Not only that, but there had also been a church shooting in our own city. A 64 year old man, distraught over his wife divorcing him, had driven to the Catholic church just down the street from the school where I am chaplain, and opened fire on his wife and her boyfriend in the parking lot as they left mass, killing both of them. He drove back to his house, a house I had passed every time I drove to those meetings on how to spend $70 million for this community. There he texted one of his four children, letting her know what he had done and where to find valuables, and killed himself. More absurd news, but true.