Saturday, October 24, 2009


I really debated about whether or not to write this or how to. I'm going to try and see where it goes.

I grew up in an idyllic town. Not perfect but far from dangerous. So when things go wrong in that town- where my parents still reside- it makes the news.

This weekend was no different.

If you are in North NJ you have most likely heard about this. If not, here is the story link:

I knew both men.

Fr. Ed Hinds was not someone I knew well but I had interacted with him many times over the years. Being a former parishoner and being a Catholic high school teacher, our paths would cross from time to time.

He helped to bury my grandmother when she passed away.

He was behind the scenes at my wedding making sure things were taken care of and going beyond his "duties" as a pastor and priest to help make the day wonderful.

He has been at mass at my school more than a handful of times over the past year.

And he was mercilessly killed by another man.

There are no words to express the shock and sadness that this death has brought to the community in which I was raised.

There is very little that is clear right now. There is very little that provides any type of answer.

There are so many questions and so much left to be figured out.

There is so much pain and confusion.

And so much loss.

I knew Jose Feliciano. I did not know the man that murdered Fr. Ed Hinds. Sadly, it appears they are one in the same.

I met Jose as an 8th grader. As I grew, I came to know Jose as a compassionate and quiet man who was giving and welcoming. I worked with him during the summers. I joked with him after school with my friends.

I was there the night he became a Catholic.

I knew his wife and his children. He had met my son when the boy was only a few months old. Jose was there on my wedding day, as well. He had helped to get the church ready and then helped to clean it up.

Were we the best of friends? No. But Jose was the person who always asked how you were doing and was willing to talk and listen and help in any way he could.

That is the Jose I knew. This is also the Jose that will be prosecuted for murder- a murder he confessed to committing and will be tried for.

Tonight I sit here and I cannot begin to fathom how this comes to be. I cannot begin to understand how this man who worked tirelessly for his family and loved to be around people and joked with us could commit such a heinous crime.

But he did. He waved his Miranda rights. He confessed to this disgusting crime. And he is behind bars tonight.

I don't know when the Jose I knew "died" but clearly he did.

There is so much loss tonight and it will not go away easily. It cannot be packed up or ripped down as the police tape and command center will be.

The pain will not get washed away with the rain storms we are living with right now.

The sadness will dissipate but it cannot be blown away as the leaves are blown off the trees.

The idyllic place that provided me with cherished memories of childhood, my teen years and college homecomings is no longer all that idyllic.

We mourn the horrible death of a man who was quietly kind and showed his faith and dedication in simple ways.

We question how this all could have happened and we look for answers in any and every spot possible.

And really, right now, there is nothing.

There is loss and sadness and it needs to be embraced and dealt with. It needs to be accepted in order to even consider moving forward.

There are no words. To be quite frank, I'm surprised I got all of the above words out.

I used to laugh when people would talk about feeling like they were in a nightmare and they wanted to wake up. I keep thinking that this is all a horrible nightmare.

And any minute, we're all going to wake up and life will be idyllic.

But we won't and it's not.

Life does not have to be perfect to wonderful but a little less sadness right now would be appreciated.


Miss K said...

I am so sorry. It is an absoluty heartbreaking situation.

Feener said...

wow. i am sure this has to be heartbreaking and confusing.

flutter said...

holding you in my thoughts

Marty, a.k.a. canape said...

We said a prayer for you last night after seeing your FB post.

I hope that you and your community can find some peace. What an awful tragedy.

Huckdoll said...

There's not much more I can say that hasn't already been said in previous comments ... but this is a horrible tragedy and totally heart breaking to read. I'm so sorry.

Major ((hug)) to you, my friend.

Merrily Down the Stream said...


Brie said...

I'm so sorry to hear this. I live in Morristown. I know a lot of people at St. Pat's feel the same as you. It's a terribly tragic and heart breaking story

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