Pope Benedict XVI called the Aurora, Colo., mass murder in the early morning hours of July 20 “senseless violence.
“I share the distress of the families and friends of the victims and the injured, especially the children,” the Holy Father said July 22.
Archbishop Samuel Aquila and Bishop James Conley of the Archdiocese of Denver issued a joint statement July 20 in which they prayed for the dead and wounded, and their families, and also for the accused shooter, 24-year-old James Holmes. Police arrested Holmes outside the Aurora theater where he allegedly opened fire on a packed house there for a midnight screening of the new film The Dark Knight Rises.
“Only Jesus Christ can overcome the darkness of such evil,” they said in the statement. Archbishop Aquila celebrated a Mass for victims, survivors and their families July 20 at Queen of Peace Parish in Aurora. Bishop Conley led an invocation July 22 during a prayer vigil at the Aurora Municipal Center.
Four of the six parishes in the Archdiocese’s Aurora Deanery are close to the theater, and at least two parishes reported parishioners directly impacted by the shootings.
The Regina Caeli Counseling Services of Catholic Charites in the Archdiocese will offer counseling services to those affected by the shootings, and the Archdiocese is providing spiritual direction from priests to anyone who is interested.