"Today is not the end."
Those words were spoken by a priest giving the homily at the funeral of Andrew Cazares, a week after he and a friend died in a fiery car crash on the Dan Ryan. A Chicago police detective, Joseph Frugoli, was allegedly drunk when he slammed his SUV into Cazares' stopped car.
St. Sabina pastor Father Michael Pfleger was asked by the family to provide a Catholic burial at a funeral home in the family's hometown of Justice. He agreed and brought with him a Spanish-speaking priest from Holy Cross parish in the Back of the Yards neighborhood. Both will speak.
There is standing room only in the largest chapel at the Damar Funeral Home.
In his homily, Father Pfleger recounted how his own son, Jarvis, was gunned down in a random street corner shooting in 1998 while Pfleger was performing a wedding at St. Sabina -- and the desperate feeling he felt. "God, I can't handle this," he cried out at the time.
But Pfleger insisted it was his religious conviction that carried him through.
"Today is not the end", he told the Cazares family. "Today is a home-going. Welcome home, Andrew. And if you see my son, Jarvis, tell him I love him".
A wake will be held later Thursday in Chicago for Fausto Manzera, who also died in the crash. It's slated to take place at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church at 3 p.m. A mass and funeral for Manzera will be held tomorrow, starting at 10 a.m.