The Catholic Life is a Life of Powerful, Authentic Witness Bishop of Tucson Gerald Kicanas remembered our sister Christina Green and our brother Federal Judge John Roll: "Christina, just 9 years old, received her First Communion last year at St. Odilia Parish in Tucson. 'Let the children come to me,' Jesus said. Christina is with Him." Judge Roll was "devoted parishioner" and a person who lived his faith "with great integrity."
Federal Judge John Roll
TUCSON, Arizona Catholic Online: In the wake of the shooting rampage in Arizona over the weekend that left six dead and over a dozen wounded, Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver expressed anguish over the violent incident, the injury inflicted, and the loss of life incurred.
Suspect Jared Loughner allegedly shot 20 people who were attending a political rally last Saturday, held outside a supermarket in Tucson, with U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords. It is reported that the initial focus of Loughner's attack was directed at Rep. Giffords, with whom he apparently took personal issue, and shot in the head at nearly point-blank range.
Catholic John M. Roll, the chief judge for the United States District Court for Arizona, was among those who were killed when Loughner allegedly turned his gun on the crowd present at the rally.
Archbishop Chaput commented that Judge Roll was known to him as a man who lived a life of "powerful, authentic Catholic witness".
Though Archbishop Chaput had not personally met Judge Roll, he had known him through "several extraordinary letters" he had received from him as correspondence. "Each of John Roll's letters had the same four clear marks: generosity; intelligence, largeness of spirit and a sincere love for his Catholic faith," stated the archbishop.
Two days after the shooting, Archbishop Chaput spoke with attorney Aaron Martin, Judge Roll's law clerk, who described the political leader as a man devoted to his Catholic Faith in numerous ways. Often viewed as a father figure among his subordinates, Judge Roll expressed a sincere interest in the daily lives of those with which he worked. Among his favorite saints was Thomas More, of whom he kept a biography on a table near his desk.
"He liked mentoring young Christian attorneys because he believed their faith gave them a better moral foundation for the vocation of law," stated Archbishop Chaput.
"John Roll was, finally, a man of unusual personal graciousness," continued the archbishop. "Despite their political differences, Judge Roll and Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, a Democrat, had a cordial relationship of mutual respect.
"On the morning of his death, Judge Roll went to Mass, and at 9:55 a.m., according to Martin, left his house to just 'drop in' on Giffords' public gathering as a courtesy, to say hello.
"He never came home."
Among those killed in the shooting was nine-year-old Christina Green. In a statement from the Holy Land, Bishop of Tucson Gerald Kicanas remembered both Christina and Judge Roll, who were members of parishes in his diocese: "As a family of Faith, we unite in prayer for the repose of the souls of our sister and brother in Christ, Christina Green and Federal Judge John Roll, who were among those who died, and for the comfort and consolation of their families."
"Christina, just 9 years old, received her First Communion last year at St. Odilia Parish in Tucson. 'Let the children come to me,' Jesus said. Christina is with Him."
Remembering Judge Roll as a man who actively lived his Catholic Faith, bishop Kicanas added: "Judge Roll was a person of great faith and great integrity. He lived his faith as a devoted parishioner of Sts. Peter and Paul Parish and St. Thomas the Apostle Parish in Tucson. For many years, he would begin his day serving the early morning Mass at Sts. Peter and Paul. He proclaimed the Word of God as a lector at Sts. Peter and Paul and St. Thomas the Apostle. He lived his faith as a servant of our nation for the cause of justice."
In view of the senseless violence at the political rally, the U.S. bishops reiterated their call to respect the sanctity of human life:
"Our prayers and concern are with those most immediately affected by this violence," said Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. "We commend to God those who have died and we pray for the families who lost loved ones and for those who are suffering from their wounds. We also pray for the person who committed these acts and those who are responsible for his care.
"While we as bishops are also concerned about the wider implications of the Tucson incident, we caution against drawing any hasty conclusions about the motives of the assailant until we know more from law enforcement authorities," added Archbishop Dolan. "Violence of any kind must be condemned. When the target of a violent act is a public official, it shakes the confidence of the nation in its ability to protect its leaders and those who want to participate in the democratic process.
"As bishops we call once more for respect for the life and dignity of every person as we work together for the common good, seeking to address the various social and political issues that face us as a nation."
Bishop Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix remembered the tragedy during the prayer with which he convened Arizona's 50th Legislative Session on Monday:
"Father of mercy, we commend [all the victims] 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."
Archbishop Chaput stated in his closing remarks on the shooting that "This life passes. Eternity is forever. We need to act in this world accordingly, with lives of Christian service."
Judge Roll and his wife, Maureen, continued the archbishop, "shared a life of quiet, powerful, authentic Catholic witness. Please keep them both, and the entire Roll family, in your prayers."