THE Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, the Most Revd Fred Hiltz, has led prayers for Toronto after a van attack left ten dead and 15 injured on Monday.
Archbishop Hiltz said on Tuesday: “As Toronto weeps, we know so many others weep with us. As we turn to God for consolation, we know so many others turn with us and we are grateful.”
A suspect, Alek Minassian, was charged with ten counts of first-degree murder and 13 counts of attempted murder on Tuesday after a rented van ran down pedestrians on a busy pavement in the Canadian city. It is one of the deadliest incidents of violence in the country’s history.
Officials and police are yet to link the attack with any particular motivation, although they have said that it appeared deliberate.
Archbishop Hiltz said: “As people of faith, our first response is to uphold all those affected by this tragedy in prayer: those who died and their grieving families; the injured and their families who keep vigil at their bedsides, and their medical teams; the leaders of faith communities, and all who provide support through accompaniment and counsel. . .
“To that day when violence shall no longer be heard and seen in our streets, we look with hope; and for its coming let us pledge our best efforts so that the safety of all people, the freedom of our neighbourhoods, the peace of our cities can be secured.”
The Archbishop of Toronto, the Most Revd Colin Johnson, offered prayers “for those who are physically injured or suffering emotionally from having witnessed such carnage, and for having lost loved ones. It is hard to comprehend such violence.”
He continued: “In the midst of such trauma, in the fear and confusion, anger and heartache, may we know that God is with us, with mercy and justice, healing and compassion. As the events unfold, may we find ways to comfort one another in grief, and support each in our resolve to be a community of freedom, unity, and peace.”
The Roman Catholic Archbishop of Toronto, Cardinal Thomas Collins, also expressed his condolences after the attack. He told Vatican News on Tuesday: “It’s very sad what has happened, when all these innocent people going about their daily life have been struck down in such a tragic way — I certainly pray for them, for all of their relatives — when this violence came just out of nowhere.”
Churches around the scene of the attack have been opened for “prayer and pastoral care”, including St George on Yonge, the closest to the incident.