HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. — It’s been nearly a year since the Highland Park parade shooting.
To mark the somber anniversary, the Highland Park community is holding several events and services to remember those who were killed, injured, and impacted in the coming days.
Saturday night, Christ Our Hope parishioners gathered at Immaculate Conception Church for a mass focused on “healing and remembrance.”
In many ways, the residents of Highland Park were still feeling the impact of July 4, 2022.
On that day, seven people were killed and dozens of others were wounded when a gunman armed with a semiautomatic rifle opened fire on the city’s Fourth of July parade crowd, firing more than 80 rounds in an attack that horrified the nation.
Parish pastor Father Hernan Cuevos celebrated the “mass for healing and remembrance” by sharing some spiritual reflections on the year since the parade tragedy. He led a group of people from the parade route to seek shelter inside a nearby church for hours as the gunman remained loose.
He says after all of the physical and psychological trauma from the shooting, Saturday is a time to focus on renewing the spirit.
“More than ever, there were questions about where God is present in the midst of all of this suffering. He is here. He brings goodness see how much we have come if we want … if we want to be safe and to feel at peace, we need the presence of god.”)
Following the traditional mass, Father Cuevos administered the Catholic Sacrament of the “Anointing of the Sick,” a ritual in which the priest anoints the heads of the sick with oil in the sign of the cross – a reminder that the community of Highland Park not alone.
A dedication of a Tree of Life, planted as a symbol of the community’s resilience, will also take place.
The city of Highland Park will also hold its own remembrance ceremony on Tuesday morning, which will be followed by a community walk, a city picnic and performances.