By Ann Schneible
DENVER, JULY 20, 2012 (Zenit.org).- In statement released after this morning's deadly shooting at a Colorado cinema, Archbishop Samuel Aquila and Bishop James Conley expressed solidarity with the victims and their families.
A masked gunman attacked moviegoers at an Aurora, Colorado, cinema early this morning at a midnight showing of the latest Batman film, "The Dark Knight Rises." According to the most recent reports, at least a dozen people were killed and many more wounded in the rampage. It is the worst such shooting in Colorado since the Columbine High School shooting in 1999 where 12 students and a teacher were killed by two armed teenagers.
In a statement released hours after the attack, Archbishop h Aquila, who was just installed as the Denver prelate this week, and Bishop Conley said that they are "shocked and saddened by this tragedy. Our hearts and prayers go out to those impacted by this evil act."
The archdiocese is offering counseling services for those who have been affected by the shooting through Regina Caeli Counseling services, which is affiliated with Catholic Charities.
"We stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters cast into that darkness," the prelates said in their statement. "They do not stand alone. As Catholic bishops, we 'weep with those who weep.'"
For those who were killed in the attack, the bishop and archbishop commended " their souls, and their families and friends, to God’s enduring love."
The archbishop and bishop also spoke to those who survived the attack, but are suffering physical, emotional, or spiritual wounds. "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 called for prayers for the conversion of the shooter."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."