Political and religious leaders offered prayers for Rep. Steve Scalise and four others who were injured in a shooting during a GOP congressional baseball practice.
The Democratic team stopped their practice following the shooting on June 14 in Alexandria, Va. Rep. Rubin Kihuen (D.-Nev.) tweeted a photo of his party’s team members, who were practicing on a different field in the Washington area at the time of the shooting, huddled in the dugout. “@HouseDemocrats praying for our @HouseGOP, @SenateGOP baseball colleagues after hearing about the horrific shooting,” he wrote.
The teams were practicing for an annual charity baseball game pitting Republicans against Democrats. The game is still scheduled to go ahead.
The shooter, identified as James T. Hodgkinson of Belleville, Ill., fired between 50 and 100 shots at the GOP team’s practice. He was later fatally wounded in a gunfight with Capitol Hill police.
Scalise, 51, is the majority whip — or the No. 3 ranked Republican in the House of Representatives, after the speaker and majority leader — and a lifelong Catholic from Louisiana.
Various Catholic figures expressed their support after the shooting. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which started its Spring general meeting on June 14, began with a prayer for the victims of the baseball shooting, as well as the recent violence in London.
According to the Catholic News Agency, Archbishop Gregory Aymond of the Archdiocese of New Orleans and Bishop Michael F. Burbidge, head of the diocese of Arlington, Virginia, issued statements expressing sadness and offering prayers for Scalise and his family.
In March 2016, Scalise spoke to the National Catholic Reporter about how, “as a Catholic and the great grandson of Italian immigrants,” he still celebrated the traditional Feast of St. Joseph, and never left home without the legume that symbolizes the holiday.
“Still to this day, I always carry around a fava bean with me everywhere I go, to remind me of my faith and Italian heritage,” he said.