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World News

'God will be there for us' says Bishop praying with the bereaved in Donegal

by Donna Birrell

Prayers are being said across Ireland for the victims of Friday's explosion at a petrol station in Donegal.

Ten people including a teenage girl, shop worker and mother and son died when the blast ripped through the Applegreen service station and shop in the village of Creeslough.

The Bishop of Raphoe, Rt Rev Alan McGuckian who has visited the scene to pray with grieving family members, released a statement asking churches to come together at Mass to offer comfort to those affected :

"Yesterday was the darkest day in Donegal.  It was with utter disbelief that I heard the news of the devastating explosion at a filling station in Cresslough.  I am deeply saddened at the loss of life and at the extent of injuries caused.  
"In the wake of this heart-breaking human tragedy, I am asking all parishes in the Diocese of Raphoe to come together to pray at Mass this weekend, so that people can offer comfort and support to each other and to all who are suffering.  God always walks with us, in light and in dark, so let us embrace the power of prayer at this time of need and He will be there for us.
"Last night I went to Creeslough to offer pastoral support.  I met and prayed with family members who are in terrible shock and pain.  In order to offer a supportive presence today, I will be in Creeslough with Bishop Andrew Forster, Church of Ireland Bishop of Derry and Raphoe, to meet and pray with bereaved family members, friends and neighbours of the deceased and injured. 
"I have witnessed at first hand the immediate reaction of the local community to the tragedy who, in their bravery, took risks at the site to help others even to the detriment of their own safety.  I wish to commend the first responders, and the emergency services of Donegal and Derry, for their high level of professional cooperation and rapid response."

The Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, Rt Rev Dr John Kirkpatrick, has also offered his prayers and heartfelt sympathy to all those who have lost loved ones in the tragedy :

 "This tragedy has sent a collective wave of deep shock, not just across Donegal, but throughout all communities on our island, no matter where we are. On behalf of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland I want to send the people of Cresslough our love, prayers and support.

"I have been deeply moved and shocked by Friday's tragic events and want to express the heartfelt condolences of the Presbyterian family to everyone who has lost loved ones and to assure those who have also been injured and traumatised by this awful tragedy of our prayers, especially those who are still awaiting news.

"I am also very conscious of the crucial work of the first responders and emergency services who have worked tirelessly, including hospital staff, clergy and local schools. I pay tribute to them and express our deep appreciation for their work now and in the weeks and months to come."


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