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Bishop Olmsted opens legislative session with prayers for Arizona shooting victims
Bishop of Phoenix Thomas J. Olmsted
Bishop of Phoenix Thomas J. Olmsted

.- After a mass shooting in Arizona that killed 6 people and left over a dozen wounded, Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted of Phoenix wrote a prayer grieving for the victims and their families and expressing hope that violence will never again “scar the social fabric” of the state.

The six who were killed in the violent attack Jan. 8 included 63 year-old U.S. District Judge John Roll and 9-year-old Christina Taylor Green, both of whom were involved in Tucson Catholic parishes.

Bishop Olmsted offered his prayer at the convening of Arizona’s 50th Legislative Session on Jan. 10. He prayed that God would grant eternal rest to Judge Roll and the others who died in this weekend’s attack, and provide healing to Congresswoman Giffords and all those who were injured.

The incident began on Saturday when 22 year-old Jared Loughner opened fire at a local supermarket where recently elected Democrat Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was giving a community address. Loughner, a socially isolated, anti-government youth with a history of mental instability, was reportedly intent on killing the congresswoman with whom he took personal issue.

Rep. Giffords is alive but in critical condition after being shot in the head at point-blank range.

The full text of Bishop Olmsted's prayer is as follows:

O loving God, Creator and Father of us all, We come before you with hearts weighed down by the terrible violence that took place in Tucson on Saturday.

We grieve for Judge John Roll and all those who have died; we stand in prayerful solidarity with their families and friends. We pray for Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and all who were injured and for those who love and care for them.

Father of mercy, we commend them all to your loving hands, asking you to grant eternal life to the deceased, healing and full recovery to the wounded, and comfort and peace to their loved ones.

And Blessed Lord, we earnestly pray, may such senseless violence never scar the social fabric of Arizona again.

We pray today, too, God of justice and of peace, for Governor Brewer, for all our Senators, Representatives, other elected officials and all who serve in public office.

Protect them and guide them with your wisdom. Give them the light and grace to build up the common good, and to protect the rights and dignity of every person

God of goodness and Father of compassion, on this day when keen sorrow clouds our hearts and so many difficult problems lay before us, we pray with the words of St. Francis of Assisi:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.

Where there is hatred let me sow love;

Where there is injury, pardon;

Where there is discord, union;

Where there is doubt, faith;

Where there is despair, hope;

Where there is darkness, light, and

Where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master,

grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;

to be understood as to understand;

to be loved as to love;

for it is in giving that we receive;

it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and

it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

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