Premier Mike Baird and the French Consul-General, Nicolas Croizer, will be among many civic and religious leaders at a special Mass with Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP at St Mary’s Cathedral tonight to remember the victims of attacks in Paris, Beirut and Baghdad.
A general invitation has been issued to the 6.30pm Mass to pray for the at least 129 dead in Paris, the around 350 people injured and countless more traumatised by the events of Friday night.
The Mass will also be offered for the 44 people who lost their lives in an Islamic State (IS) bombing attack in Beirut on 12 November, and the at least 22 people killed in Baghdad, the following day, and all affected by IS terror.
IS claimed responsibility for the events in Paris on Saturday night (AEST) with eight men thought to have been directly involved in the atrocity.
Only one attacker remains alive, believed to be 26-year-old Belgium-born Abdeslam Salah, now the subject of an international manhunt.
Two of his brothers were also involved: one shot dead at one of the sites of attack (the concert hall), and the other arrested in Belgium.
France retaliated this morning (AEST) by dropping 20 bombs on an IS stronghold in Syria.
Archbishop Fisher wrote to the Archbishop of Paris, André Armand Cardinal Vingt-Trois, on Saturday to offer the condolences of all Catholics in Australia.
“I write (to) express our heartfelt condolences on the deaths, injuries and brutal attack on civilisation suffered this day in Paris, perversely so soon after the celebration of the Feast of St Martin and the Commemoration of Armistice Day,” the archbishop wrote.
“With people all over the world we share in the disorientation and grief of the people of France and especially of your archdiocese who are especially close to our hearts at this time.
“I will offer Mass with civic leaders and the people of Sydney for the repose of the souls of the deceased and for peace in Paris and the world this Monday night at St Mary’s Cathedral Sydney.”
Cardinal Vingt-Trois replied to the archbishop’s message, later that day.
“My brother in Christ,” the cardinal wrote.
“Thank you very much for your fraternal message. What we are experiencing only leads us to deepen our faith in the face of these events.”
The Mass for the victims of the Paris attacks will take place tonight at St Mary’s Cathedral, beginning at 6.30pm.