Tears shed for the pain suffered by the Québec community, which nevertheless decided not to surrender to evil and hate. Great emotion yesterday evening, during the Mass celebrated in the Church of Notre-Dame-de-Foy, in communion with the victims of the attack against the Great Mosque. Notre-Dame-de-Foy is located at a short distance from the Islamic Cultural Centre. The Mass was presided over by Cardinal Gérald Cyprien Lacroix, the Archbishop of the city. The political authorities of the Country with the Prime Minister of Quebec, the representatives of the Christian Churches, and members of the Muslim community took part in it. “Thank you brothers and sisters for your solidarity in this time of great sorrow”, said Cardinal Lacroix, speaking at the beginning of the celebration. “This evening, on invitation by the Catholic Church of Québec, we’ll pray for our brothers and sisters of the Muslim community, and for all the people affected by this tragedy. We address God all together, for Him to help us to raise our heads again and find the strength to go on, with love that is necessary to live on this Earth in peace and harmony”. “Our hope is put to test. For this reason, we address our common Father, our Creator and Father of Mercy”.
Co-founder of the Islamic Cultural Centre Boufeldja Benabdallah spoke before the Mass. In tears, he named the six victims one by one, recalling who they were and what they did. “Thank you for inviting me. You are all friends”, he said: “Our religion says that when you love someone, you have to tell him. Therefore, I say I love you”. Hearing those words, all the people in the church stood up and clapped hands. “I arrived in Québec about 48 years ago. For 48 years, Québec has stretched out its hand to me, in the same way as it stretched out its hand to the people dead. We arrived here, in this beautiful city, in this wonderful and immense country, Canada, where we decided to live and grow our children. You are good people. We have learnt many things from you, resistance before difficulties, pardon, and respect for other people. And we are grateful for all that”. Then, Boufeldja Benabdallah spoke about the children losing their fathers in the tragic attack: “We’ll tell them Quebec did not kill their fathers. It was a human being who made a mistake, and he should not have done what he did. I can assure you we know the goodness of the human heart. We shall not allow hate and grudge entering the hearts of our children”.
The prayers before the offertory were read by Khadija Saïd, from the Muslim community, and from Anglican Dean of the Holy Trinity Cathedral Reverend Christian Schreiner. Then, there were prayers for the victims, for the believers of all religions, for “merciful God to reject any kind of violence”, for children and youth, who are “the hope for a new world”, for the Church, and for international diplomatic corps to commit themselves to “supporting peace and halting wars and violence”.