About 100 people attended an ecumenical service in Shepparton to remember those who died in the MH17 plane crash.ESTELLE GRIEPINK July 25, 2014 3:58am
School students at last night's St Brendan's Catholic Church ecumenical service carry candles for those Australians killed when Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot down over Ukraine last week.
Shepparton residents paid their respects to the victims of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 during a moving ecumenical service at St Brendan’s Catholic Church last night.
About 100 people gathered to mourn the 36 Australians who perished in last Friday’s tragedy, and also to pray for world peace.
The service began with a solemn procession of primary and secondary school students, firefighters and other community members, who placed 36 lit candles at the church’s altar.
City of Greater Shepparton Mayor Jenny Houlihan was then invited to light a paschal candle to represent the other 262 lives lost on the downed plane.
‘‘There were 20 families and as many as 80 children on that plane,’’ parish pastoral chair Kathy Hunt said.
‘‘We gather to pray for peace in our world and a united community in such a time of tragedy.’’
The air was thick with emotion as the congregation paused for a two-minute silence, before moving on to the readings.
The gospel chosen for the service was the Beatitudes — the same passage read during a MH17 service attended by thousands at St Paul’s Cathedral in Melbourne yesterday.
Parish priest Father Joe Taylor encouraged the congregation to draw strength from God as they sent their prayers to the souls of the dead and their living loved ones.
‘‘When I heard there had been another Malaysia Airlines disaster, I was in such shock,’’ Fr Taylor said.
‘‘My mind raced to the passengers and the terrible way they died, and their loved ones who would wait in vain at airports, who would wait in vain for news.’’
As the service ended, Fr Taylor reminded people to treasure their loved ones.
‘‘Moments like these remind us how precious life is,’’ he said.
‘‘Make sure you tell the people you love how much you truly love them.’’
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