San Antonio archbishop: The Garcias ‘witnessed to the love that comes from God’

Joe Bukuras   By Joe Bukuras for CNA


Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller of San Antonio says the funeral Mass for Irma and Joe Garcia at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Uvalde, Texas, June 1, 2022. / CTSA Catholic Television of San Antonio

Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Jun 1, 2022 / 15:00 pm (CNA).

In his homily for the Wednesday funeral Mass commemorating the lives of Uvalde shooting victim Irma Garcia and her husband Joe Garcia, who died two days later of a heart attack, Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller of San Antonio said that the couple “witnessed to the love that comes from God.”

“Irma and Joe’s faith bore fruits of love. They witnessed to the love that comes from God. The love between them shone through and was expressed by their dedication to each other, which extended to their children and to their community,” García-Siller, who celebrated the Mass at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Uvalde, said June 1.

The Garcias, who had begun dating in high school, leave behind four children: 23-year-old Cristian and three teenagers, Jose, Lyliana, and Alysandra.

Irma Garcia, 46, and Joe Garcia, 50, share a joint obituary that says the couple “began their relationship in high school and it flourished into a love that was beautiful and kind.” They were married June 28, 1997.

García-Siller said, “As the entire Church commemorates the awaiting of the Comforter — the Holy Spirit — we all wish and pray to be instrument through which He himself brings peace to the hearts of Lyliana, Alysandra, Jose, Cristian, the entire Garcia family and the other families of the victims.”

The homily, which was given almost entirely in English, included some Spanish phrases, archdiocesan spokesperson Jordan McMorrough told CNA.

The archbishop said that “Their loss and sorrow are part of our own tragedy as a community. As we are all grieving, we also want to communicate our hope in the resurrection to those who mourn and to the world.”

“He will wipe every tear from their eyes,” García-Siller said, quoting the Book of Revelation.

García-Siller said that “She acted out of love up until her last breath. His love for her was so strong that his heart could not contain it. They knew well that God’s plan is far beyond our understanding, so they trusted Him. Their legacy is their witness that despite all, God is in control.”

Garcia reportedly died while trying to protect her students.

“With the gift of faith,” he added, “and through our closeness to you, we are able to share in your pain, so that through the Church you may be strengthened in your own faith, and receive the comfort that only God can give.”

Quoting the Gospel of John, he said, “Do not let your hearts be troubled.” He added, “God, who is himself love, is the one who inspires love in our hearts.”

García-Siller said that “Jesus has shared in our pain and our death, so that we may have a part in his resurrection and in his eternal glory in Heaven. Through his own experience in the seeming nonsense of the Cross, he has truly conquered death to save us.”

“That is why we know for sure that the Risen One had long ago prepared dwellings in the Father’s house for Irma, Joe and all the others who shared in this tragedy,” he added. “We commend them to his mercy.”

The archbishop said that “Irma and Joe lived as God’s faithful children and represented Him as proud parents. We trust that they will continue to be those proud parents, now even closer to their children and to all of us, although in a different way.”

“We, as God’s family, will continue to look after their children,” he said. “We also trust that Liliana, Alysandra, Jose and Cristian will continue to make their parents proud as God’s faithful and loving children. Honor the memory of your parents with your unwavering faith, hope, and love.”

“We are here to proclaim our faith in the Lord who is able to give our deceased loved-ones a joy that far exceeds our pain,” he concluded.

On May 24 a gunman walked into Robb Elementary School in Uvalde and shot and killed 19 children and two adults. The shooter was shot and killed by authorities on the scene.

After discovering the news of his wife Irma’s death, Joe Garcia died of a heart attack two days later.

Eleven of the Uvalde shooting victims were parishioners at Sacred Heart, which is holding each of their funerals.

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