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Uvalde priest reflects on impact of school massacre: 'We're much more than the tragedy'

This is one tragedy this small city feels is too big to escape -- as hard as a local priest wants them to try.

UVALDE, Texas — It has been three months since the tragedy at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, where 19 school children and two teachers were killed by a gunman. 

If you drive through the small city of Uvalde, you will immediately notice the murals honoring each of the victims on store walls. 

This is one tragedy this small city feels is too big to escape -- as hard as a parish priest wants them to try.

"The church is any place that we find ourselves," said Father Eddie Morales of Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Uvalde. The priest has presided over a number of the funerals for the victims of the school shooting .

"[May] 24th was horrible but we cannot continue to live that day over and over and over again," said Morales. He stresses that he is not asking that people forget what happened but find the future for healing.

Morales was a young boy attending this church with his family. He told WFAA that they would sit in the very back. "We Catholics don't ever sit in the very front," the priest laughed.

Now as its priest, his much bigger family sits in the church pews: teachers, students, police officers and even school and city public officials.

"I have to be careful what I answer because I have to be aware of my audience," he said.

It is why the father does not grant a lot of interviews. He says there is too much good happening to be stuck on the bad. 

He says his job is to shepherd the flock and if he's still angry he cannot help. He does not want his town to be labeled as the place where the shooting happened and innocent people died.

Uvalde's identity appears already written and often not by those who live in the city. The longtime priest had a message for some media and outsiders.

"If you're going to report and keep reporting every single time just the horrible things that happen here and the anger of people and the yelling and screaming then I would prefer you leave town," Morales said kindly.

A request by someone who has to shepherd the flock to healing. 

It has been three months since the tragedy and Father Morales would like to see the families who came for funerals come regularly for mass.

"Uvalde has always been and always will be a good town, We're much more than [the tragedy]," the priest said.

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