Catholic Outpouring for Judge Roll, Other Victims

Some more of the Catholic community’s outpouring of sentiment and prayers for Judge Roll and the other victims of Saturday’s shooting, and additional insight into the Judge’s character from people who knew him:

  • Tucson’s Bishop Kicanas is holding a special Mass for victims tomorrow.  Read especially the note about the little girl who was killed.

Christina Taylor Green’s family attends St. Odilia Parish, blocks away from the site of Saturday’s shootings. She made her First Communion there last spring.

Judge John Roll, also Catholic, attended the nearby St. Thomas the Apostle Parish, where he served as lector, reading from the Scripture regularly during mass.

Kicanas’ special mass will be held January 11 at 7 p.m., at St. Odilia Church, 7570 N. Paseo del Norte.

Judge Roll, who was the chief judge for the District of Arizona, was a Fourth Degree member of the Knights of Columbus, and was a charter member of Deacon Raphael Longpre Council 10441, and a member of Msgr. Hughes Assembly 2392, both in Tucson. He had been a member of the Knights of Columbus for 24 years. Members of the Fourth Degree will provide an honor guard at his funeral next week.

“We feel a tremendous sense of loss at Judge Roll’s death, and for all, young and old, who lost their lives in this attack. We pray for God’s mercy on all who have been touched by this tragedy.”

“Judge Roll, a faithful Catholic who had just attended daily Mass before stopping to greet Rep. Giffords at her community meeting, was a dedicated public servant…. Let us honor his life and service by embracing those qualities of ‘love and wisdom and compassion’.”

“It was well known that he was conservative and a very religious man,” said Michael Piccarreta, a defense lawyer in Tucson who knew Judge Roll for 25 years. “But he never wore that on his sleeve professionally. You’d never know about his faith just from watching him on the bench”

The judge was described by lawyers as unfailingly polite and cordial, often asking about attorneys’ spouses and children by name.

Roll was described by his grief-stricken friend and colleague as “a conservative, values type Catholic who attended mass almost daily. When John and I first met, we discussed religion and culture at dinner. Just the two of us. I introduced him to Richard John Neuhaus’s First Things, and he later subscribed.”

UPDATE:  Some more news blurbs.

  • Another defense attorney and friend of Judge Roll comments:

Stephen Paul Barnard, a Tucson defense attorney who has known Roll since the 1970s when they were both city prosecutors, said the judge’s death is “insurmountable, senseless and tragic.”

“At least to me and other people who knew him as a person, he was the symbol of what a human being strives to be and he was taken away overnight,” Barnard said in a phone interview.

Barnard, a Democrat, said Roll, who he described as a conservative Republican, enjoyed lively discussions about politics “but always with humor, never anger.”

U.S. District Court Judge John M. Roll, 63, and Christina Taylor Green, 9, who were killed, were both active in their Catholic parishes. Roll, the chief judge of the Tucson federal court, had stopped by the shopping center in northwest Tucson to see Giffords on his way home from morning Mass at St. Thomas the Apostle Church. Bill Badger, one of several people who tackled the shooter to stop his rampage, despite his own gunshot wound, also is active in the parish he shared with the judge, according to Fred Allison, spokesman for the Tucson Diocese.

  • The Arizona Daily Star calls Judge Roll “A Man of Faith and Devoted to the Rule of Law”, and includes more detail from Bishop Kicanas:

While Roll was well-known in his capacity as a federal judge, he was also a husband, father and man of strong Catholic faith, said Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Tucson. Roll graduated from Salpointe Catholic High School.

“Judge Roll was a person of great faith and great integrity. He lived his faith as a devoted parishioner of SS. Peter and Paul Parish and St. Thomas the Apostle Parish in Tucson,” Kicanas said in a written statement.

“For many years, he would begin his day serving the early-morning Mass at SS. Peter and Paul. He proclaimed the Word of God as a lector at SS. Peter and Paul and St. Thomas the Apostle. He lived his faith as a servant of our nation for the cause of justice.”

As a jurist, Roll was known as a conservative “but not a judicial activist,” said defense attorney Saji Vettiyil, who said he appeared before Roll at least twice a month. “He ran his courtroom with the grandeur and dignity a federal courtroom deserves. He was a man of impeccable, impeccable legal ability and the most reputable judge you can ever know.
“You’d better be prepared if you were going to appear in front of Judge Roll,” Vettiyil said. “Many people didn’t know the human side. He was also a very, very compassionate human being. He was a genuinely nice human being, concerned about the people around him.”



  • phil

    May All-Mighty GOD have mercy. May the souls of the faithful departed rest in peace.

  • greg smith

    It started out as such an American day. The Congresswoman set up shop to speak directly with her constituants. The purest form of modern democracy. Three senior citizens were in line to see her. Maybe about constituant needs, maybe to agree with her, maybe to disagree. A judge, as was his regular habit, went shopping after daily mass. A litte girl who was interseted in politics was brought to the event by a neighbor. Then a madman changed everything. An entire nation was
    thrown into mourning. Pray to God for both the victims and the country.



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