Ogden man shot as he knelt to pray is expected to recover
Church leader focusing on bravery, charity — not on 'one act of evil'
It was not immediately known where Jennings, who is restricted from having firearms, got the gun he allegedly used in the shooting.
Other than talking about James turning his head, Tara Evans — who held the hand of her daughter, Karen, throughout the press conference — declined to make any comments.
"Thank you to all the people who are praying for him," she said.
Father Richtsteig said he only wanted to focus on Evans.
"There have been threats (between Jennings and Evans), but I really don't want to go into that," he said. "Really, what I think we need to focus on is how much good we saw yesterday, not one act of evil. A lot of bravery, a lot of kindness, a lot of charity.
"They were at Mass, they were worshipping God and this man came in and did an act of violence. They're the ones we should be concerned about," he said.
After the shooting, several parishioners put pressure on Evans' wound and cleared his throat so his airway wasn't obstructed. One of the congregation members was also a nurse and helped until paramedics arrived.
Father Richtsteig had just returned Friday from a trip to Jerusalem with Evans and his family. He described him as a person who constantly helped out around the church doing little tasks.
"Jim is one of the kindest people I've ever known," he said. "No one deserves this. But I can't think of anyone who deserves it less than James."
Because of the shooting, Sunday night Mass was canceled. But Father Richtsteig said he wasn't going to let evil triumph, so he held Mass at 8:30 a.m. Monday. About 50 people showed up.
On Thursday, he said he plans to hold a Liturgy of Reparation, blessing the inside and outside of the church.
"We're going to pray for healing, all evil will be expunged from the church," he said. "God doesn't give back a gift. He has consecrated the church. It's a holy place, it will always be a holy place. But there's been an incident, so we need to redress that promise through prayer."
The Most Rev. John C. Wester, bishop of the Salt Lake Catholic Diocese, spoke Monday of his gratitude for the quick response of parishioners at St. James.
"They showed their love for their neighbor in a very tangible way,” he said. “They responded courageously, heroically."
Bishop Wester has called for stricter laws on the sale and use of firearms. He said he remains concerned but doesn’t want to overreact.
"We needn't panic,” he said. “This is a very, thanks be to God, out-of-the-ordinary and not, obviously, something that happens with regularity. So, I don't think we need to get too worried or to turn our churches into armed fortresses."
He added: "We need to really tackle the root causes and to get at mental illness and to get at the anger."
The Weber County Attorney's Office was expected to consider filing formal charges on Tuesday.
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