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The candlelight vigil at Holy Cross, Bondi, on April 20 (The Catholic Weekly/Giovanni Portelli)

Hundreds of people from across Sydney ended the city’s most horrific week in years by gathering at two candlelight vigils to commemorate the victims of Bondi’s knife attack. Source: The Catholic Weekly.

At Holy Cross Catholic Church, less than 100 metres from Bondi Junction Westfield, Bishop Richard Umbers celebrated a Vigil Mass followed by a prayer service on April 20.

It was followed by an outdoor candlelight service at Bondi Pavilion on April 21 attended by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, Opposition Leader Peter Dutton, NSW Governor Margaret Beazley and Premier Chris Minns.

Ashlee Good, 38, Dawn Singleton, 25, Jade Young, 47, Pikria Darchia, 55, Yixuan Cheng, 27, and Faraz Tahir, 30, were killed and about a dozen injured when Joel Cauchi, 40, who had a long history of mental illness, launched his attack at the shopping centre on April 13 before he was shot by police officer Amy Scott and died at the scene.

NSW Opposition Leader Mark Speakman, Member for Vaucluse Kelly Sloan, and local school leaders and parishioners from across Sydney lit candles at the prayer vigil at Holy Cross along with parish priest Fr Terrence Millard.

Mr Speakman said he was pleased to see a “very strong” united response from religious leaders to both the Bondi tragedy and the separate attack on Assyrian Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel at his church in Wakeley two days later.

“The reactions here of the first responders and bystanders, the bravery they showed was terrific, as was the instinctive reaction in Western Sydney on Monday night of Christian and Muslim leaders straight away to unite and say we stand for peace and harmony and non-violence,” Mr Speakman said.

Holding candles lit from the Paschal candle in the darkened church on Saturday, attendees listened to God’s promise that “there will be no more death” from the Book of Revelation.

In his homily, Bishop Umbers commended the police officer, security guards, and bystanders who “showed courage in the face of danger” but acknowledged that “we ourselves are still in shock that such acts of violence could happen here”.

On Sunday, Mr Albanese offered condolences on behalf of the community and nation to the loved ones of the victims.


Community candlelight vigils honour Bondi victims (By Marilyn Rodrigues, The Catholic Weekly)