Denver prelates offer consolation in wake of Aurora shootings
Published: July 20, 2012
DENVER (CNS) -- Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila of Denver and his auxiliary, Bishop James D. Conley, offered prayers and support to the victims, survivors and the community after a gunman killed at least a dozen people and wounded dozens more during a July 20 midnight screening of the movie "The Dark Knight Rises" in Aurora. "For those who were killed, our hope is the tender mercy of our God," the bishops said in a joint statement. "'Neither death nor life,' reflected St. Paul, 'can separate us from the love of God.' 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." Archbishop Aquila and Bishop Conley also prayed for the shooter. "We hope also for the perpetrator of this terrible crime, and we pray for his conversion. Evil ruled his heart last night," they said July 20. "Only Jesus Christ can overcome the darkness of such evil." James Holmes, 24, who had been a doctoral student at the University of Colorado before he dropped out, was arrested in connection with the mass shootings. Police said Holmes was still wearing a bulletproof vest in the movie theater's parking lot when he was apprehended. News accounts in the hours following the attack put the number of wounded variously at 38, up to 50 and as many as 59 late in the day. Archbishop Aquila, who was to celebrate an evening Mass for those affected by the shooting, and Bishop Conley said Regina Caeli Counseling Services of Catholic Charities in the archdiocese would offer counseling over the next few weeks to those who need it. "We look for opportunities to pray with our community," the bishops added. "And we continue to work to support families and communities in forming people of peace."
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