Speak their names

June 21, 2016 -- "One year ago," Pastor John said on Sunday, "during the sermon I read the list of names of the victims of the shooting in Charleston."  This time, in the aftermath of the massacre in Orlando, he wanted help.  He had asked Paul and me to share the reading of the names during a prayer after the sermon.

I thanked him for the opportunity to do something to help the families of the victims. Lifting their loved ones' names up in prayer was something we could do.

After researching and practicing the pronunciation of the names given to me to read on Saturday, I was ready.  I speak French, not Spanish, but I tried. I wanted to give the respect of saying these young people's names correctly.

That was Sunday.  The next day was Monday, yesterday, the longest day of the year.  The full moon rose in the sky.  Monday evening was also the time that most of our night-blooming cereus bloomed.  These glorious, strange blossoms burst out exuberantly just once a year.  The next day, they wilt on the climbing cactus that spawned them.  The cereus blossom is wonderful, but it's sad; its life is beautiful, but much too short.

Here are the names and ages of the 49 people who perished in Orlando's Pulse on June 12:

Stanley Almodovar III, 23 years old
Amanda Alvear, 25 years old
Oscar A Aracena-Montero, 26 years old
Rodolfo Ayala-Ayala, 33 years old
Antonio Davon Brown, 29 years old
Darryl Roman Burt II, 29 years old
Angel L. Candelario-Padro, 28 years old
Juan Chevez-Martinez, 25 years old
Luis Daniel Conde, 39 years old
Cory James Connell, 21 years old
Tevin Eugene Crosby, 25 years old
Deonka Deidra Drayton, 32 years old
Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez, 31 years old
Leroy Valentin Fernandez, 25 years old
Mercedez Marisol Flores, 26 years old
Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz, 22 years old
Juan Ramon Guerrero, 22 years old
Paul Terrell Henry, 41 years old
Frank Hernandez, 27 years old
Miguel Angel Honorato, 30 years old
Javier Jorge-Reyes, 40 years old
Jason Benjamin Josaphat, 19 years old
Eddie Jamoldroy Justice, 30 years old
Anthony Luis Laureanodisla, 25 years old
Christopher Andrew Leinonen, 32 years old
Alejandro Barrios Martinez, 21 years old
Brenda Lee Marquez McCool, 49 years old
Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez, 25 years old
Kimberly Morris, 37 years old
Akyra Monet Murray, 18 years old
Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo, 20 years old
Geraldo A. Ortiz-Jimenez, 25 years old
Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera, 36 years old
Joel Rayon Paniagua, 32 years old
Full moon rising last night over the bayou.
Jean Carlos Mendez Perez, 35 years old
Enrique L. Rios, Jr., 25 years old
Jean C. Nives Rodriguez, 27 years old
Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado, 35 years old
Christopher Joseph Sanfeliz, 24 years old
Yilmary Rodriguez Solivan, 24 years old
Edward Sotomayor Jr., 34 years old
Shane Evan Tomlinson, 33 years old
Martin Benitez Torres, 33 years old
Jonathan Antonio Camuy Vega, 24 years old
Juan P. Rivera Velazquez, 37 years old
Luis S. Vielma, 22 years old
Franky Jimmy Dejesus Velazquez, 50 years old
Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon, 37 years old
Jerald Arthur Wright, 31 years old

We will never forget you.

Video of Pastor John Danner's powerful sermon on Sunday, June 19.

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