Charles GoodrichOn May 14, 2008, two-year-old Charles Goodrich, son of Kathleen (Ellis ’99) and Glen (’00), was killed when struck by an out-of-control pickup truck whose driver and passengers were under the influence of drugs and alcohol. This Friday the Goodrich family and many of their friends will gather by Charles’ gravesite, as they do every year around the anniversary of his death, to pray — for the three people in that truck.
Mrs. Goodrich explained this tradition in a Facebook posting last year:
“This coming May 14 is the third anniversary of my son Charles’ death. Most of my friends know this, though I suspect that some of you never heard about it, so really quickly, the bare facts are these:
“I was walking to the store pulling my two and a half year old son in a wagon, carrying my four-month-old infant in a baby carrier. At about 2:15 on a Wednesday afternoon, a couple of known gangsters were joyriding through the school zone I was walking through. The man at the wheel, Roberto Villanueva, two weeks out of prison on parole (and unlicensed) was high on cocaine. The owner of the pickup truck, Albert Garcia, was in the passenger seat drinking Jack Daniels from the bottle. Cindy Nunez, a mutual friend, was in the back seat. Horseplay in the front caused the truck to jump the curb, striking Charles’ wagon and killing him pretty much instantly. The driver regained control and sped away.
“Later on, Albert Garcia pleaded guilty (against the advice of his attorney) to various charges, and asked for full sentencing - he was the one most responsible for the accident. He is serving the third year of his 20 year sentence. Roberto Villanueva, a previous offender, negotiated a little more, but did eventually plead guilty to various charges, and was sentenced to seven years. According to his attorney at the time of sentencing, he has reconnected with his Catholic faith while in prison, and has requested Masses to be said for our family on the anniversary. Cindy Nunez, I don’t know about, but her daughter came to Charles’ visitation and abjectly apologized - their family is very broken.
“So here is what I want. The anniversary is TAC Graduation Day, and most of you will be busy. So on Friday, May 13, I’ll be at the Santa Paula cemetery with my children, at 3pm, praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet for those three poor children of God. When people tell me they are praying for me, I appreciate it very much, and I know that it is the only thing pulling me through. But I am entirely wrapped in love and grace, surrounded by friends and family, supported by strangers and strengthened by the sacraments. These three people are vilified, tormented by guilt, and in probably the last place on earth where they can find comfort. They need your prayers.
“Christ said ‘Today I am sending you with My message of mercy to the people of the whole world. I do not want to punish aching mankind, but I desire to heal it, pressing it to my Merciful Heart.’
“Come to the cemetery and join me in prayer, if you like, or if you can’t be there, pray wherever you are. If you don’t have time for the whole chaplet, pray this prayer: ‘O Blood and Water, which gushed forth from the heart of Jesus, as a fount of Mercy for us, I trust in You.’
“I’m not tagging or targeting anyone in this note. I would like as many people to know about it as possible, because I want as many prayers offered for their conversion and peace as possible, but I don’t want to hold myself up as a model of anything at all. Share it with anyone that you think would like to know about it —- share this note on your Facebook profile, send it to your e-mail list, whatever you like. But please pray for this dear intention of mine.”
For those who are interested in joining the Goodriches in their prayers this year, Mrs. Goodrich recently sent out the following invitation:
“Some people have asked me if we are doing anything public to make Charles’ feast day this year. As I did last year, I’ll be going over to the Santa Paula Cemetery on the Friday before (that’s this Friday, May 11) at 3pm to pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy for the needs of the three people who were in the truck that day. Anyone is welcome to join me, in body or in spirit, at that hour or at whatever hour of the day they are able to join in. Feel free to pass this message on to anyone who may be interested.”
For the sake of His sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.