Teenager’s bullet hit local church

(WJET/WFXP/YourErie.com) – On the afternoon of Thursday, March 3, the neighborhood was quiet, as a working neighborhood tends to be. A delivery truck was parked on the street a few blocks away. An old motorhome was parked on the corner lot opposite the church entrance.

Inside Holy Trinity Catholic Church (2220 Reed Street), stained glass windows climb and line both walls. In a square of the glass, a hole – the size of a silver dollar – was covered in plastic.

On the afternoon of February 20, a 16-year-old fired multiple shots from a vehicle window at two people, police said. The result was a bullet that went through the stained glass window of the church, going through the pews and hitting the marble wall below another window on the opposite side of the building.

Reverend Jason Glover received the call that evening from a senior church associate. The senior partner said he was coming home from dinner and parking in the garage, he heard “clicks”.

“The pops didn’t register (like the gunshots) because you don’t expect that stuff,” Reverend Glover recalled in a March 3 interview.

When another series of shots rang out, the senior partner realized the situation and locked the doors.

In total, Glover said, more than 60 shell casings were recovered after the shooting.

The church has about 300 registered families. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the church had about 150 people for each mass, but now with the pandemic, those numbers have dropped to about 80 people. Still, Glover said the church has a “pretty committed group of people who work with the community.”

Parishioners collect charitable donations which are sent to Catholic refugee relief services. The parish also supports a separate collection for inter-church ministries that helps with “pretty much anything – clothes, food, and I’ve even heard of hotel stays and used cars. “said Glover.

But by February 20, the violence that gripped the city – with several teenagers involved in separate shootings in February – had hit the church itself.

“It’s one of those things where the church has been a mainstay here for generations, and all the good that we’ve brought to the neighborhood and the surrounding community… It just shakes you,” Glover said. “The parishioners are shaken. One way or another, they are caught in the crosshairs.

Glover has been a priest for nearly 20 years (his 20th birthday will be in June). A Pennsylvania native, he said he’s always had a desire to help people.

“I thought I would go into medical school, to be honest,” Glover said. “Then someone said one day that people need a lot more healing than physical. And I thought I was going to try (the priesthood). I thought I would last a year and I would have So the story goes – I fell in love with it, I stuck with it, and I’m glad I did.

In times like these, Glover lets his faith guide his response.

“I don’t know if there’s an adequate answer to that,” Glover said. “We don’t let it deter the goodness we continue to provide to the community. I think faith should inform the answer. Whenever we are faced with violence or sin in any form, we use our faith as a moral guide. »

While posing for a photo during the interview, Glover found a piece of the broken stained glass on a bench. The stained glass window depicts the Virgin Mary holding a child Jesus. The bullet missed both and hit a panel with a gray and gold decorative pattern.

Glover lives at Saint Stanislaus Catholic Church (on East 12and Street). He remembers that two weeks before the incident, he was preparing dinner. An alley that connects East 12th and 13th Streets is right outside his kitchen window. While he was cooking, he heard “fireworks”.

“I looked outside and saw a man screaming and running with a gun, discharging his gun at someone,” he said. “I’ve lived in Baltimore and Washington, and I’ve heard gunshots before. But when you see someone shooting, it’s very disturbing.

The church filed an insurance claim. Glover said he asked if they should pursue repair estimates, but the insurance company said it was premature, so the church is waiting, with plastic over the bullet hole in its stained glass window.

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Glover said they keep the church doors open and always feel connected to the community.

“When we face the challenge of the violence we face, it is proof of the need. Obviously some reconciliation needs to happen in the neighborhood – this is one of a string of shootings that have happened in this community,” Glover said. “So we must ask ourselves how can faith facilitate this reconciliation?”

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