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January 11th, 2011
12:54 PM ET

Mourners to hold 'community healing' Mass after Arizona shooting

Mourners will gather at a memorial Mass Tuesday for victims of the weekend shooting outside an Arizona supermarket that killed 6 people and wounded 14 others.

The Mass will be held at 7 p.m. (9 p.m. ET) at St. Odiilia Church in Tucson, Arizona - where 9-year-old shooting victim Christina Green had her First Communion a year ago.

"Right now it is important as a community to pull together and to reach out in care and concern to all who have been affected by this tragedy," Bishop Gerald Kicanas wrote Monday in a letter to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Tucson.

The alleged shooter, Jared Lee Loughner, 22, appeared in a Phoenix courtroom Monday to formally hear the charges against him - including two counts of murder, two counts of attempted murder and one count of attempting to kill a member of Congress.

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, critically injured in the shooting after a gunman's bullet went through her brain, was in stable condition Monday, doctors said. And authorities' investigation was "winding down," Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik said.

But details were still emerging from those who survived the deadly attack, those who lost loved ones in the shooting and those who knew the alleged gunman.

Former classmate Don Coorough said Loughner's demeanor immediately struck him the first time they met.

"He would use inappropriate emotional reactions. He would laugh at things that were sad. He just didn't seem to be aware of what was going on," Coorough told CNN.

Former classmate Steven Cates remembered Loughner frequently grinning and clenching his fists - an expression that he said was similar to the mug shot photograph released by authorities Monday.

"That same look was the look that made people in class uncomfortable," he said.

Dr. Steven Rayle, who was at the political meet-and-greet Saturday when gunfire broke out, said he caught a glimpse of the gunman's face.

"He seemed very determined," he said.

Court documents released Sunday show that investigators found a letter from Giffords in a safe at the house where Loughner lived with his parents, thanking him for attending a 2007 event, similar to Saturday's meet-and-greet.

"Also recovered in the safe was an envelope with handwriting on the envelope stating 'I planned ahead,' and 'my assassination' and the name 'Giffords,' along with what appears to be Loughner's signature," the affidavit states.

A law enforcement official said Loughner asked Giffords a question at the 2007 event and was unhappy with her response.

"He never let it go," the source said. "It kept festering."

Hours after Saturday's attack, Dupnik suggested that "vitriolic rhetoric" in political debates could have deadly consequences.

"When you look at unbalanced people, how they respond to the vitriol that comes out of certain mouths about tearing down the government, the anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this country is getting to be outrageous. Unfortunately, Arizona, I think, has become sort of the capital," he said. "We have become the mecca for prejudice and bigotry."

His comments have fueled debate among politicians, calls for toning down rhetoric and concern about lawmakers' safety.

Longtime Giffords adviser Mike McNulty has faulted Giffords' opponents in last year's elections for stirring up emotions in the campaign to an unacceptable level.

"She is not just a centrist; she is the center. She is the fulcrum of American politics. She is what people fear there is no more of. People are fleeing the left and the right, and Gabby Giffords stands staunchly in the center. And here we have somebody who put a bullet in her brain. The center is in trouble," he told CNN's John King on Monday.

But John Green, the father of Christina Green - the youngest victim of Saturday's attack - said the shooting had nothing to do with politics.

"I think it's a random act of violence. I think some of it is media-driven, because people have begun to learn they can solve their problems and make a big splash," he said. "I don't want to politicize this thing. I want to remember our daughter. I want the country to remember our daughter."

His wife, Roxanna Green, said she wanted people to know that her daughter was brave and intelligent, and hoped others would follow her example.

"I hope people will look for hope, for change, for peace. That's what Christina would want. She wouldn't want us to be sad. She would just be like, 'Let's do something. Let's make this never ever happen again, so no one else has to get hurt,'" she said.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Catholic Church • Christianity • Mass

soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. CatholicMom

    Humpin Timmy,
    I see you posted at 9:11. Seems that number appears around evil events and statements.
    May God bless all who suffer because of evil. May God take all evil acts and statements and turn them into good for all the world as only He can do.

    January 13, 2011 at 10:18 am |
  2. HumpinTimmy

    "community healing mass"? How silly. Yes lets all get together and cry and see who can cry the most and who can be on tv the most by crying the most and soiling their diaper the most.

    January 13, 2011 at 9:11 am |
  3. GSA

    @Methusalem – It's not true, there's no agenda. If you are unsure though, maybe you and the 6th grade @caresaboutpeople can get together and discuss it.

    January 12, 2011 at 10:53 am |
  4. Methusalem

    There is a News report that says that the shooter’s favorite books are the Communist Manifesto and Mein Kampf. Loughner is also reportedly an atheist. So, it might be true that there is a Communist, an Atheist and Islamist agenda to fight the Judeo-Christian world!?

    January 12, 2011 at 6:50 am |
  5. Methusalem

    FOX News has reported that the shooter’s favorite books are the Communist Manifesto and Mein Kampf. Loughner is also reportedly an atheist. So, it might be true that there is a Communist, an Atheist and Islamist agenda to fight the Judeo-Christian world!?

    January 12, 2011 at 6:49 am |
  6. Gary

    Horrible very sad feel terrible for all the families involved.

    January 11, 2011 at 11:48 pm |
  7. Lydia

    My heart is with all those killed, but especially the family of this small child, who never really got to live her life. May they all find comfort in Jesus love and peace. My prayers go out to all.

    January 11, 2011 at 4:29 pm |
  8. cares about people

    Why would someone shoot another person? If that person is important to our community, then what gives. I have heard that the murderer was a great person, who graduated college. But i have also heard that he was on the influence of drugs.
    (P.S. I am in 6th grade)

    January 11, 2011 at 4:07 pm |
    • buzkil

      according to the CNN Terms of Service, you must be at least 13 years old to post a comment
      your simplistic and naive comment only underscores the need for a minimum age requirement
      ask your parents instead of trolling on a CNN blog

      January 11, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.