The Colorado theater, where in July a dozen people were killed and 58 were injured during a shooting spree, reopened Thursday in a ceremony that included a prayer led by Denver’s archbishop.
Archbishop Samuel Aquila offered the closing prayer at the ceremony, where Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper and Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan also spoke.
“Many in this community, here in Aurora and well beyond, have dwelt these past six months in darkness,” Archbishop Aquila said. “We have walked in the shadow of death. Many of you, here tonight, have lost someone you love dearly. Some of you stood in this theater, in the shadow of death, in the darkness and chaos of evil. All of us, in some small way, suffered in your suffering.”
The archbishop recalled Pope John Paul II’s affirmation that “suffering is a part of the mystery of man” and that “the redemption of the world is rooted in suffering.”
“In suffering, and in the love of God, dawn breaks before us,” Archbishop Aquila reflected.
He affirmed that God wants to “guide our feet into the way of peace.”
“The way of peace means rejecting the violence of that night. It means giving to God our desire for vengeance, our hatred, our bitterness, and our anger,” he said. “Walking in the way of peace means knowing that we are connected to one another — that in the family of humanity, each of our lives has worth, and dignity, meaning, and purpose. God calls us to pursue together what is true, what is good, and what is beautiful. The way of peace means coming together in love.”
The prelate added that to “walk together in peace” is the greatest tribute to those who died.
“Let us be a people of peace,” Archbishop Aquila urged, before leading the people in prayer. “Though we will not forget those who died, let us abandon the violence we consume in media, and the violence we harbor in our hearts. Let us seek the love of God, who is the light, and the way of peace.”