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Family, friends and dignitaries release white balloons at the memorial garden in Oatlands, NSW (The Catholic Weekly/Giovanni Portelli)

A site of tragedy was transformed into a memorial of faith and love as the memorial garden for the Abdallah and Sakr children was blessed and opened in Oatlands in western Sydney on Saturday. Source: The Catholic Weekly.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and New South Wales Premier Chris Minns were among the guests who joined Danny and Leila Abdallah, Bridget Sakr and Craig Mackenzie, their extended family and friends, for the blessing of the memorial to Antony, Angelina, Sienna and Veronique.

The children were killed in February 2020, when they were hit by a car while they were on their way to get ice cream.

Maronite Bishop Antoine-Charbel Tarabay presided over the blessing ceremony, joined by Sydney Auxiliary Bishop Richard Umbers.

The service included Scripture readings and prayers, a reflection from Bishop Tarabay and a mix of contemporary Christian songs enjoyed by the children and traditional Maronite hymns.

White doves and balloons were set free into the clear Sydney summer sky, and dozens of white roses were laid at the memorial by family and friends.

Following the blessing and opening, each of the families had an opportunity to speak to those present, offering thoughts and reflections on the four years since the tragic deaths.

In addition to thanking the attendees and their friends, families and supporters, the Abdallahs and Ms Sakr spoke of their hopes for the memorial.

They were united in the hope that the memorial would spur the whole community to remember the transformation faith makes possible.

“I always envisioned that someone carrying their pain and suffering would come here and reflect and remind themselves, ‘If these families can turn their suffering into purpose, then I can too,’” Mr Abdallah said.

Ms Sakr said that the blessing of the memorial garden had turned a site filled with darkness into a place that would bring more light into the world.


PM, Premier join Abdallah and Sakr families for memorial garden opening (By Monica Doumit, The Catholic Weekly)


Prime Minister Anthony Albanese: Abdallah and Sakr families show us our better selves (The Catholic Weekly)

Monica Doumit: Oatlands memorial shows new life blossoms forth from tragedy (The Catholic Weekly)