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Call for prayers as Canada rocked by terrorist outrage

31 October 2014


Regimental send-off: the funeral procession of Corporal Cirillo, led by Major Canon Robert Fead, Chaplain to the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada, at Christ Church Cathedral, Hamilton, Ontario

Regimental send-off: the funeral procession of Corporal Cirillo, led by Major Canon Robert Fead, Chaplain to the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders o...

THE Bishop of Ottawa, the Rt Revd John H. Chapman, has urged Canadians to pray for everyone caught up in the shooting around the Parliament Buildings last week.

Corporal Nathan Cirillo, a 24- year-old reservist, was shot while he stood guard outside the national war memorial, which is only a short distance from the Parliament building, in the Canadian capital, Ottawa. Corporal Cirillo was given emergency resuscitation on the roadside and taken to hospital, but later died of his wounds. Later, police were engaged in a shootout inside the Parliament. The suspect, Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, was eventually shot and killed.

In a statement last week, Bishop Chapman said that the dramatic events were "just blocks from our synod office". "Like all Canadians, we are following today's news from Parliament Hill with shock and trepidation," he said. "[Pray] for all those at the centre of this situation and for a return to calm in our homes, hearts, and streets."

All staff in offices near the Parliament Buildings were told to stay put, and advised to stay away from the windows and doors, while police searched for the suspect. Many MPs and the Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, were inside the Parliament, and some barricaded themselves inside meeting rooms while police officers went from door to door, searching for the suspect.

No one else was injured, although as many as 30 shots were heard inside the building. The parliamentary Sergeant-at-Arms, Kevin Vickers, is reported to have shot Mr Zehaf-Bibeau.

The killing of Corporal Cirillo came two days after another soldier, Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent, died after being hit by a car driven by a Canadian convert to Islam, Martin Couture-Rouleau. He was known to the security services, who had feared that he had become radicalised into jihadism online.

Mr Couture-Rouleau was later shot dead by police in Montreal, and another soldier, who was driven into during the same incident, is recovering in hospital.

In a statement last week, the Primate of the Anglican Church in Canada, the Most Revd Fred Hiltz, asked that people pray for "these men, for their loved ones stricken with grief, and for the Canadian Armed Forces chaplains who are ministering to them".

"Now is a moment when the refrain of our national anthem, 'O Canada, we stand on guard for thee', must echo in every heart," he said. He also urged prayers for the safety of MPs and everyone else in public service, as well as "peace and reconciliation among all peoples".

The President of the Lutheran Church in Canada, the Revd Dr Robert Bugbee, said that he was asking God to "guide the authorities as they seek additional suspects". He said: "If the threat of terrorism rears its head in Canada, we must turn to God in prayer."

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