Lawmakers, religious leaders pray for victims of congressional baseball shooting

Members of a Democrat congressional baseball team pray in a dugout after hearing about the shooting of Republican colleagues on June 14, 2017, in Washington, D.C. Photo by Rep. Ruben Kihuen via Twitter

WASHINGTON (RNS) 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.

Democrats, who were practicing at the same time a few miles away on their own baseball team, stopped as soon as they heard about the attack Wednesday (June 14) in Alexandria, Va., and huddled in a dugout to pray for their colleagues.

Rep. Ruben Kihuen, D-Nev., tweeted a photo of his party’s team members. “@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 on Thursday.

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 Wednesday, 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, New Orleans Archbishop Gregory Aymond  and Bishop Michael F. Burbidge, head of the diocese of Arlington, Va., issued statements expressing sadness and offering prayers for the victims.

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.

About the author

Madeleine Buckley


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  • Certainly this ought to be an instance where politics can be set aside, and any ranting from the left or right should be discouraged. This was the random act of one unsettled individual who is responsible for his own actions without respect to anyone else. We can all be grateful that the only loss of life that occurred was that of the shooter…and that too is regrettable.

  • My guess is that you will see a genuine verbal truce (to a degree) from all sides, maybe including the very vocal national media and the late night comedians.

    Probably dial it down for approximately 7 to 10 days.

    Then it will be back to business.

  • Some on the Right are taking advantage of this to attack the Left. Of course Bernie Sanders used the Gifford shootings to lay the blame on and attack the Right. All actions these days are reduced to whom to blame for political gain. In the end it’s solely the perpetrators who are to blame.

  • You shall reap what you sow. Maybe, just maybe some Republicans might now consider some sane gun control measures.

  • I just read America’s gun control strategy referred to as TAPS – a thoughts and prayer.strategy.

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