(Montreal) The residents of Amqui gathered at the Saint-Benoit-Joseph-Labre church in Amqui on Friday evening during a special mass held in honor of the victims of the tragedy that occurred in downtown the small community at the beginning of the week.

The Archbishop of Rimouski, Denis Grondin, greeted the families “directly or indirectly affected by the attack”, underlining the holding of this “important moment of prayer”.

“The gathering is a bit of the first reflex that manifested itself, the desire not to be isolated this week. Solidarity prevents us from sinking into darkness that we feel in different forms and which sometimes wants to take all the space: the darkness of doubt, of worry and the fear, even, of taking a walk,” he said. he said at the event also streamed online.

The Mayor of Amqui, Sylvie Blanchette, welcomed the presence of several dignitaries at the ceremony, which testifies to “the support of the governments of Canada, Quebec and our MRC”.

She also underlined the importance of a strong community and thanked all those who had assisted the injured during the event.

“We are all here to give hope to those who need it. […] We will continue to flourish, to laugh and to live despite this sad event. We will never forget March 13, 2023, but we will always be one big family,” she said.

Kindé Cosme Arouko, the parish priest responsible for the 22 parishes of the Matapédia Valley, was also at the ceremony to honor the victims of the tragedy.

On Monday afternoon, a man driving a van deliberately hit 11 passers-by who were walking downtown.

Gérald Charest, 65, and Jean Lafrenière, 73, lost their lives. Several other people were also injured.

The suspect appeared last Tuesday to be charged with two counts of dangerous driving causing death.