Toronto

'It could have been any one of us': Interfaith service draws hundreds to mourn victims of van attack

Hundreds of people of all ages and religions packed a North York church to honour the victims of Monday’s attack.

Church near Yonge Street attack holds community prayer service

Hundreds lit candles and sang at an interfaith service for the victims of Monday's van attack that killed 10 people. (Mark Bochsler/CBC News )

Hundreds of people of all ages and religions packed a North York church Thursday evening to honour the victims of Monday's van attack.

Barbara and Dave Anderson were among the mourners at the service, which was was held inside St. Edward the Confessor Catholic Church on Churchill Avenue, about a five minute walk from the stretch Yonge Street  where 10 people were killed and another 14 were injured.

"We go down [to Yonge Street] all the time; it could have been any one of us," said Barbara Anderson.

Thursday's service opened with a prayer, followed by readings and the singing of Amazing Grace. It ended with strangers lighting candles together and being asked one thing: to be nicer and kinder to each other.

The alter at St. Edward the Confessor Catholic Church was adorned with candles, flowers and messages of hope. (Natalie Nanowski/CBC News )

Given the church's proximity to the crime scene, Pastor Patrick O'Day thought bringing people from all faiths together would be a good way to heal, especially since a teacher from one of the church's adjoining Catholic schools lost her younger sister, Anne Marie D'Amico.

"I really do believe that it's the collective support and solidarity that people need to heal," he said.

'Talking about it is important'

Josie Sabatini, one of the teachers from that school, says the staff is trying to organize something for the D'Amico family, but for now, they're letting it all sink in. 

"Talking about it is important," said Sabatini. "I have very young students; they do know something happened and I try to answer them the best I can for their understanding."

People from several faiths came to share messages of hope and courage. (Natalie Nanowski/CBC News)

Police have charged  25-year-old Alek Minassian with 10 counts of first degree murder and 13 counts of attempted murder. They say another attempted murder charge in the coming days is likely.  

Another vigil for the victims is set for Sunday at Mel Lastman Square.

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