Denver bishop urges hope at vigil for shooting victims

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Bishop James D. Conley of Denver delivered the invocation at a non-denominational Sunday evening vigil for the victims of the Aurora theater shooting, telling attendees to ask God for hope amid the “darkness” of the crime.

“All of us in this local community were affected by what happened here on Friday – and we will never be the same,” he said July 22.

Bishop Conley, the auxiliary bishop of the Denver archdiocese, encouraged the crowd to remember that human lives are “precious in God’s sight.”

“Let us glorify God in our love for one another. Let us glorify God by responding to all violence with peace and to all evil with love,” he said in his introductory remarks.

The vigil drew thousands of people to the Aurora Municipal Center who mourned the 12 killed in the shooting early July 20. Another 58 people were wounded in the attack and the resulting chaos.

Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan spoke at the event, as did several religious leaders, the Denver Post reports.

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper read each of the names of those who died.

The crowd responded to each name by shouting “We will remember.”

Bishop Conley prayed:

“You respond to evil, O Lord, with love. In your boundless love, you have conquered sin and death. Your victory over death is our hope – for we know that we do not live in a lasting city.”

He asked God to “help us to build a community of peace” and prayed for the conversion of the perpetrator of the shootings.

“You are our hope Lord,” he continued. “We look to your Resurrection as a sure sign that death does not defeat us – that death is not the end. Instead, we pray that each of us may join in the victory of your Resurrection.”

Bishop Conley encouraged vigil attendees to “trust God without doubt” and turn to him with their fears.

“Let us ask him for the hope we need to see in the midst of this darkness – and a new day dawning here in our community,” he said.

He invoked Jesus’ words in the Beatitudes: “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”

He encouraged the crowd to mourn the dead and grieve with their loved ones, asking them to find consolation in God’s “abundant love.”

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