Loading
Catholic priests respond quickly to Conn. school shooting
 Connecticut State Police walk near the scene of an elementary school shooting on Dec. 14, 2012 in Newtown, Connecticut. Credit: Douglas Healey/Getty Images News/Getty Images.
Connecticut State Police walk near the scene of an elementary school shooting on Dec. 14, 2012 in Newtown, Connecticut. Credit: Douglas Healey/Getty Images News/Getty Images.
By Kevin J. Jones
Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest Addthis

.- Several priests of the Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport responded quickly to the mass murder of adults and schoolchildren at a Newtown, Conn. elementary school, rushing to the scene to comfort victims and their relatives.

Brian Wallace, the diocese’s director of communications, said that priests from St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church, the only Catholic parish in Newtown, are actively responding.

“The parish is huge and extremely active and it’s just up the street,” Wallace told CNA Dec. 14.

“Within minutes (of the shooting) the pastor, Msgr. Bob Weiss, was at the scene of the tragedy working with families,” he said.

“He quickly alerted other priests from the parish who joined him. As this unfolded, and the significance of it became apparent, we also alerted all our clergy in the upper Danbury area.”

The shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary on the morning of Dec. 14 left at least 27 people dead, including 18 children.

A law enforcement official told the Associated Press that the attacker was a 20-year-old man with ties to the school. He apparently had two guns.

Wallace said the murders have had a deep impact. “We’re disoriented by it,” he said. “It is so profoundly disturbing.”

“It’s a very difficult time. I think it’s going to get worse. The indications are that there may be a number of children who were killed.”

CBS News reports that the gunman was the father of one of the students and is from New Jersey. A possible second shooter is in custody.

Wallace also noted that many Catholic clergy have responded, including those in local medical facilities.

“Our chaplains in the hospitals are meeting with people. Our priests are on the ground doing everything they can to deal with grieving families and with people who have good news but are totally traumatized by what has occurred.”

Newtown is a small town of only 27,000 people.

“We don’t know yet who the victims are,” Wallace said. “We assume that a number of victims may be parishioners or their relatives.”

Monsignor Jerald A. Doyle, administrator of the Bridgeport diocese, promised the prayers of Catholics in the diocese and shared their "collective sense of grief, shock, and loss.”

“We are all deeply saddened and shocked by this unthinkable tragedy, and our hearts go out to the entire Newtown community,” he said Dec. 14.

“Catholics throughout the Diocese are urged to join us in prayer for the victims and their families.”

Catholic Charities of Fairfield County has a trauma team with experience in counseling those in crisis. The team will be available to help victims in the local parish and Catholic school. The agency is open to the wider community but at present is focused on those most likely to be part of Catholic organizations.

“Our focus is dealing with any families that are members of the parish who will need counseling immediately,” Wallace said.

“The diocese at this point is on the ground doing what it can,” he added. “People will rally around.”

St. Rose of Lima will have a special Mass tonight at 7 p.m. for the victims of the shooting.

Updated Dec. 14, 2012 at 1:02 MST. Adds commentary from Msgr. Doyle, administrator of the Bridgeport diocese.

Tags: Violence, Church in US, Mass shootings

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
Christ Cathedral CNA video Sept 2014
Alejandro Bermudez of CNA accepts ice bucket challenge
'The Real Albania,' remembering those who fled
Pope Francis in Albania, "one of the most important visits of the post-communist era in Albania"
Pope Francis greets paralyzed man who risked all to see him
Franciscans on the banks of the Tiber in Rome, working for the New Evangelization
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day
Missionary of Charity, Korea
Testimony of Christian Love during Pope's Visit to Korea
Religious Sisters in South Korea react to Pope Francis kissing a baby
Warm atmosphere during Holy Mass at Daejeon World Cup Stadium
Images inside Pope Francis flight to South Korea
The tombs of the early Christians
Missionaries of Africa, called "the White Fathers"
Italian youth give testimony after mission to Peru
Interview with Iraqi Ambassador to the Holy See on the persecution of Christians
New book 'The Vatican unknown'
Oct
21

Liturgical Calendar

October 21, 2014

Tuesday of the Twenty-Ninth Week in Ordinary Time

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Lk 12:35-38

Gospel
Date
10/21/14
10/20/14
10/19/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Eph 2: 12-22
Gospel:: Lk 12: 35-38

Saint of the Day

St. Romuald »

Saint
Date
10/21/14

Homily of the Day

Lk 12:35-38

Homily
Date
10/21/14
10/20/14
10/19/14