Chris Pineda's funeral was this morning. I heard the bell tolling for the casket as I walked to church. There were easily 2000 people there, and a line of TV cameras stood tall behind the last pew.
Fr. Ed performed his usual miracles with liturgy. The family chose the first reading from Isaiah, where it talks about the feast of rich foods and pure, choice wines, because Chris liked to eat. The second reading was the 23rd Psalm, also at the family's request.
The gospel was part of the recent gospel of the raising of Lazarus. We stopped at the part where Jesus wept and the crowd remarked, "See how he loved him."
Ed's voice broke in the homily talking about Chris's mother going to pray with the Virgin Mary. Two mothers who lost sons, praying together.
Stephanie Valentin of Poetics Magazine and the St. Joseph's youth group read the prayers of the faithful.
After Communion, Whitney Young's principal, Joyce Kenner, was invited to the podium. Five young men, friends of Chris, went with her. She invited everyone from Whitney Young to stand up. I could see at least a hundred--there were probably more. Dr. Kenner announced that Chris's diploma will be awarded to his family at the June graduation ceremony. That's when I started crying. Lots of other people did, too.
A college scholarship will be awarded annually to a Whitney Young senior who has similar qualities to Chris. "NOT a gangbanger," Kenner proclaimed, drawing sustained applause. The scholarship winner will have a C average or higher, a friendly spirit and a sense of humor, among other qualities.
To see video from the funeral (as long as the Trib keeps it up--I think it's got five days left), click here