Vigil mass by archbishop offered for victims of Aurora shooting
By Nissa LaPoint
Photo by Nissa Lapoint/DCR
As the morning rays broke through the church’s stained glass windows, a group of faithful at Queen of Peace Church in Aurora gave their sorrows to God and looked to Mary for comfort.
Those gathered at the 6 a.m. Mass Sept. 15 concluded an all-night vigil of eucharistic adoration and prayer for victims of the Century Aurora 16 shooting in July.
“Anyone who lives here was affected by it in some way or another,” said parishioner Mary Anne Anderson, who attended the Mass and adoration. “There’s still an awful lot of people who are suffering.”
The vigil began with Mass at 8 p.m. Sept. 14 at Queen of Peace. The Aurora parishes—Queen of Peace, St. Michael the Archangel, St. Pius X, St. Thérèse and Our Lady of Loreto—joined in holding two hours of adoration, Scripture readings and recitations of the rosary to pray for the victims, emergency personnel and for a conquering of evil.
With priest concelebrants and assisted by deacons, Denver Archbishop Samuel Aquila celebrated the morning Mass on the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows.
“Let us pray especially for the conversion of our world that our world may come to know the peace that Christ and Christ alone can give,” he told the congregation. “Let us always remember to turn our eyes to the cross from which Light itself comes.”
In his homily, Archbishop Aquila discussed the connection between the sorrows of the community after the deadly shooting to the sorrows Mary experienced during her earthly life. He asked the faithful to reflect on the suffering Mary felt in watching her son die on the cross.
In Scripture, Mary encountered seven sorrows: Simeon’s prophecy that Mary and Jesus would suffer greatly, the flight into Egypt, the loss of the child Jesus in the temple, meeting Jesus on the way to Calvary, Jesus’ death on the cross, Mary receiving Jesus’ body in her arms and placing his body in the tomb.
The Mass touched many hearts like that of parishioner Barbara Norman, who said her son died in 2007.
“It’s close to your heart especially when you’ve lost a child,” she said. “Faith in the good Lord will sustain us through these times.”
One family came for eucharistic adoration at 3 a.m. and attended the morning Mass.
Patricia Enriquez, of St. Thérèse Church in Aurora, joined her family in the choir. She said the archbishop’s homily touched her.
“I liked how he compared Mary’s sorrows to our sorrows and how our first reaction shouldn’t be evil—it should be good,” she said.
At the end of the Mass, Archbishop Aquila thanked the crowd for coming together to pray.
“I want to extend my gratitude to all of you who are spending time in prayer and also for the pastors of the Aurora parishes who put together this all-night vigil, praying for the victims of violence,” he said.
Deacon Michael Magee of Our Lady of Loreto Parish, who assisted at the Mass, said the vigil was the right way to honor the victims.
“I thought it was a good way to respond to violence, the way we should respond to violence,” he said. “It has touched everybody’s heart.”
Benefit Concert for Aurora Shooting Victims and Families
What: The Colorado Bach Ensemble will perform.
When: 7 p.m.-8:15 p.m. Sept. 30
Where: Our Lady of Loreto Parish, 18000 E. Arapahoe Road, Foxfield
Cost: Free; donations accepted
Information: visit www.ourladyofloreto.org or call 303-766-3800