Waukesha Catholic community prays for those affected by parade tragedy, including injured priest


WAUKESHA, Wis. (CBS 58) – We see more of how the community reacts after the tragedy at the Christmas parade in Waukesha that killed five people and injured dozens more on Sunday.

The pews were filled Monday evening at St. Williams Catholic Church with hundreds of people from the Catholic community who came to pray for the Waukesha community in light of what happened. They prayed for members of their church who were also injured, including a well-known priest.

“We just heard a scream and we turned around and there’s a car, you know, flying, absolutely flying, and then just this horror around us,” Father Matthew Widder said.

Father Widder said he remembered his thoughts as it happened as he walked with his congregation in the parade.

“I can’t believe this is happening,” Father Widder said, “Just… I can’t believe this is happening. “

He said that a number of people in the church are hurt, both physically and mentally, by what has happened.

Including Father Patrick Heppe, who was hospitalized for injuries.

This is why they gathered on Monday evening to pray for the injured.

Bishop James Sherman of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee said the church is there for Waukesha.

“I just want to let the people of Waukesha know that the church cares about them, loves them and does what it can to support them,” Bishop Sherman said.

In the form of therapists, as well as prayer.

Widder said now Father Heppe is released from the hospital and has come back to his well-known mind.

“Doctor, […] he said [Father Heppe] must be healthy, but before the doctor can say anything [Father Heppe] said dark chocolate would be his diet, ”Father Widder said with a laugh.

Through it all, even in the worst of times, Father Widder said there were people there for each other doing the right thing, something he said we need more of.

“That feeling of love and hope comes in the midst of it all,” Widder said.

Church officials said therapists and other supports are available for those in need through Catholic charities and the church.

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