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Arizona bishop asks for prayers after shootings


6:30 P.M. EST Jan. 9, 2011

Bishop Minerva G. Carcaño is calling for prayers of healing following the Jan. 8 shootings in Tucson, Ariz., that left six dead and more than a dozen – including U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords -- wounded.

The bishop, who leads The United Methodist Church’s members in Arizona, issued a statement calling the shootings “senseless.” She expressed hope that the incident is not an expression of “growing intolerance.”

Giffords and two of her aides were among the 14 wounded. The dead included a federal judge, a third Giffords aide and a 9-year-old girl.

“We raise our prayers for U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and others who were affected by the senseless shooting that occurred today in Tucson, Ariz.,” Carcaño said in a Jan. 8 statement. “We mourn the deaths of those whose lives were cut short in this moment of insanity, among them Federal Judge John M. Roll.

“We are holding close to our hearts those who are struggling to survive their injuries including United Methodist Pam Simon, who serves on Congresswoman Giffords’ staff,” the bishop said.

“For some time now many of us have been concerned about the uncivil tenor of life in this state, and pray that what has happened today is not an expression of a growing intolerance,” Carcaño continued. “Today we have certainly seen a blatant lack of respect for human life.

“Let us pray for healing for our sisters and brothers in Tucson, and for our state. May God be merciful and may we be agents of Christ’s grace and love.”

Giffords, a Democrat, was shot while holding a meeting with the public at a grocery store. She underwent surgery and was listed in critical condition as of Jan. 9.

Jared Lee Loughner, 22, was arrested and has been charged by federal prosecutors for the shootings. The investigation is continuing.

News media contact: Tim Tanton, Nashville, Tenn., (615) 742-5489 or newsdesk@umcom.org.

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