Friday, July 20, 2012

Archbishop Aquila to say Mass for theater massacre victims

(EWTNOn Friday evening Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila of Denver will preside over a Mass at Queen of Peace Catholic Church for the victims, families and others affected by the movie theater shootings in Aurora, Colo.

Priests from the area will join the archbishop for the 5 p.m. Mass at the Aurora church. Queen of Peace is the Catholic Church closest to the Century Aurora 16 Theater where a gunman killed 12 people and injured at least 59 others during a premiere showing of “The Dark Knight Rises” early Friday morning.

Archbishop Aquila and Denver Auxiliary Bishop James D. Conley issued a statement Friday morning in response to the shootings.

“Our hearts and prayers go out to those impacted by this evil act,” they said. “They do not stand alone. As Catholic bishops, we ‘weep with those who weep’.”

The bishops also mentioned the perpetrator and asked for prayers for his conversion.

“Evil ruled his heart last night,” they said. “Only Jesus Christ can overcome the darkness of such evil. We hope that all of us may find the peace which surpasses understanding.”

Archdiocese of Denver chancellor J.D. Flynn said that Archbishop Aquila and Bishop Conley will try to attend the funerals of any Catholic victims.

“They’ll do their best to be there between the two of them,” he told EWTN News July 20. “Everyone is important to them.”

Four Catholic parishes are in the vicinity of the theater. As of 11 a.m., two Catholic parishes reported that some of their parishioners have been affected by the shooting and were counseled by a priest, the Archdiocese of Denver said. Over the next few weeks, Regina Caeli Counseling Services of Catholic Charities will offer counseling to survivors and family members of victims.

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