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Archdiocese urges prayer, offers assistance in wake of theater massacre

Catholic World News - July 23, 2012

Following the July 20 shooting at a Colorado movie theater that left 12 dead and 58 injures, the Archdiocese of Denver sought to console those affected by the massacre.

On the evening of July 20, newly-installed Archbishop Samuel Aquila and area priests gathered at Prince of Peace Church in Aurora to offer Mass for the victims, and on July 22, Auxiliary Bishop James Conley took part in a municipal prayer vigil.

“For those who were killed, our hope is the tender mercy of our God,” the prelates said in a statement, adding:

“Neither death nor life,” reflected St. Paul, “can separate us from the love of God.” We commend their souls, and their families and friends, to God’s enduring love.

For those who were wounded—physically, emotionally and spiritually—our hope is in their recovery and renewal. To them we offer our prayers, our ears to listen, and our hearts to love. The road to recovery may be long, but in hope we are granted the gift of new life.

We hope also for the perpetrator of this terrible crime, and we pray for his conversion. Evil ruled his heart last night. Only Jesus Christ can overcome the darkness of such evil.

The archdiocese also issued a statement urging anyone who desired spiritual direction from a priest to call the archdiocesan vicar for clergy. In addition, the local office of Catholic Charities is offering counseling.

Recalling the 1999 Columbine High School massacre, Archbishop Aquila told Vatican Radio that “I had worked somewhat closely with that and with the families and doing some counseling with the young people involved … the suffering is deep, it’s profound.”

“I really try to when I listen to people, bring them to Jesus Christ, to the Good Shepherd, to the one who can provide them with comfort,” he said.

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