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Push Away the Unimaginable

Photo Credit: KofC Southwest Denver 4844

On May 7, 2019–a short two weeks ago–another school shooting hit very close to home for one in our Bellator Society family.  Her words of refection are raw and true.  We thank Liz Banko for sharing the light in this darkness.


After 24 years of parenting, I came to the conclusion that the box model of education doesn’t fit every child.  Yes, I am a slow learner.  But that lesson, brought my son to a school that endured another senseless school shooting and death.

Yet, in the midst of evil taking hold of a school, the Trinity was present in a young man named Kendrick.  John 15:13 “There is no greater love than this – to lay down your life for a friend.”

Kendrick rushed the gunmen allowing his classmates to flee the scene, ultimately losing his life. Kendrick is also the only child to John and Maria Castillo.

“There are moments that the words don’t reach
There is suffering too terrible to name
You hold your child as tight as you can
And push away the unimaginable
”  (Hamilton, Lin Manuel-Miranda)

Yet, how John Castillo had the strength to give his son a eulogy is only explainable in the context of his faith and the power of the Holy Spirit; he credited the love in the room.   It is worth sharing some excerpts.

“If I had to describe him in a certain way: Love for anybody he met…If you were walking and stumbled, he would help.  There’s risk in love…And Kendrick knew those risks.”

A young man of 18, usher, altar server at his church, it has been said that he didn’t do one heroic act, but he lived the life of a hero.  Countless accounts of his service and kindness were noted. His father begged that we live a life like him…for that is what will change the world.

John also said that Kendrick taught his parents that you can’t overthink love….we need to keep it simple, and not over engineer it.

“If Kendrick was here and he was looking at me…he would want me to have the strength to help everybody heal. Because he knows there is nothing I could do for him now other than reach out to his friends and make sure they and their families were comforted.  If there is anything, ever, I could do for you, just pick up my phone number or walk in our door.”

Then….then, I knew where Kendrick got it from.  Listening to his father tell an audience that he would welcome any of the 800 attendees into his home to help them pray through their grief made me weep.

“There are moments that the words don’t reach
There is a grace too powerful to name
We push away what we can never understand
We push away the unimaginable”  (
Hamilton, Lin Manuel-Miranda)

Keep the Castillos in your prayers and they push away their grief and let the grace of faith shine through.

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Picture of Liz Banko

Liz Banko

Liz is a native New Yorker has found herself living in a number of states with husband, Peter, of 25 years for their commitment to Catholic healthcare.

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