Ten-year-old Sanad Shahriar was remembered as a “kind, cheeky, clever” boy at a memorial service held at St Lucy’s School following his tragic death in a lift accident on the premises on 1 November.
Broken Bay Bishop Anthony Randazzo joined around 200 people who gathered for the private service at the Wahroonga school for students with disabilities.
Opening the service, principal David Raphael said that while St Lucy’s community is grieving Sanad’s loss, “nothing compares” to the suffering of his parents Easmin and Hasan Shahriar.
He thanked staff members and emergency services first responders for their work on 1 November and St Lucy’s staff, families and friends for their support following the tragedy.
“Those included our school board, the Association of Independent Schools of NSW, Dominican sisters, fellow Dominican Education Australia school principals and board trustees, Catholic Schools NSW, Coles, former staff, neighbours and our own local Catholic parish priests, including our bishop, all playing their part,” he said.
The Shahriar family did not attend but the simple and sombre service was recorded for them and mourners wrote condolence messages on brightly-coloured cards to compile a book of memories.
Present were school families, past and present staff members, Dominican sisters, and priests of Holy Name Parish, Wahroonga.
After a short Gospel reading Fr Sam French, priest in residence at Holy Name, delivered a homily likening Sanad’s life to a bright light that went out “without the slightest warning or the chance to prepare ourselves.”
“We are no doubt left confused by this accident, and confounded by the questions which surround every death: ‘Why now? Why so soon? Why in this way?” he said.
“All of us wrestle with these questions when we think of Sanad and are hurting from a sudden loss for which no one could ever prepare themselves.
“The light of Sanad’s life is a reminder that all life is a fragile and precious gift, not promised to us for any particular amount of time, but continually given to us as a gift from God, day by day, moment by moment.”
Media were asked to refrain from attending the service but in a statement the independent Catholic school said Sanad had a “lively spirit and happy disposition,” paid tribute to all who had provided support and asked for continued respect for his family’s privacy and that of the school community.
“Our prayers remain with Sanad’s family,” the statement said.
Following the service, Bishop Randazzo posted a message on social media about the “wonderful, creative, cheeky” boy who was a much-loved classmate.
“While Sanad’s parents, friends and the school community grieve deeply their loss, we thank God for the times Sanad would shine the light on all those around him,” he said.
“Pray for Sanad, his family and friends as we thank God for bringing us Sanad’s everlasting light.”
Local parishioners have been praying for Sanad and his family throughout November, the month set aside in the Catholic Church to pray for the dead.
Emergency services tried to rescue Sanad, who became trapped under a lift at the school, but were unable to save him.
An investigation by NSW Police and SafeWork NSW is continuing.