Residents of Dauphin, Man., sought solace at church services Sunday — lighting candles, wiping tears and offering prayers — as they mourned 15 community members who died in a bus crash that also left 10 gravely injured.
Father Brent Kuzyk of St. George’s Ukrainian Orthodox Church said part of his liturgy was dedicated to victims of the crash.
Prayers were offered for those who died, their families and emergency workers. Kuzyk also spoke to the overall suffering of the community of 8,600 people northwest of Winnipeg.
Churchgoers lit candles and sang hymns. One woman wiped tears from her eyes with a tissue.
The first names of those who were on the bus were also read out.
The Ukrainian church was among many places of worship in Dauphin that were set to address the tragedy during their regular Sunday services.
Deacon Frances Stewart of St. Paul’s Anglican Church said she planned to offer a moment of silence for those who died.
Now is a time to offer comfort and be compassionate as people grieve, she said.
“As Christians, we have this wonderful hope, this wonderful promise of the life to come. But at this stage, the important thing is to just get through the first few days and then to be there for the months and years to come,” Stewart said.
RCMP continued to investigate Thursday’s fiery crash between a transport truck and a minibus that was carrying seniors from the Dauphin area to a casino near Carberry, Man., some 190 kilometres away.
Mounties have said the truck was travelling east on the Trans-Canada Highway when the southbound minibus crossed at an intersection.
As of Friday, investigators had not yet spoken with the driver of the bus, who remained in hospital along with the nine other survivors. Shared Health said in a statement Sunday that their conditions remained the same.
Kuzyk said he spent the last few days at seniors complexes praying with people. Some of the victims lived in the facilities.
“Simply being able to verbalize whatever they’re feeling always helps,” he said. “Since it’s such a small community, everyone knew someone on that bus or even had relatives on the bus.”
Coming together, praying for those who died, then burying them is part of the healing process, he said.
“When we begin to heal, we gain strength, we begin to understand and then we get to prepare our lives for the next step.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 18, 2023.