Thank You Sydney - from the Archbishop of Paris

Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
27 Nov 2015

Police believe the suspected ringleader of the Paris attacks, Abdelhamid Abaaoud returned to the scene around the Bataclan where 90 people were killed.

The Archbishop of Paris, Cardinal André Vingt-Trois, has written to the people of the Archdiocese expressing his sincere thanks for the prayers and compassion following the recent devastating terrorists attacks in Paris.

The 13 November attacks which killed 130 people and injured around 300, targeted people enjoying a Friday night out at a packed concert hall, a restaurant, a cafe and a friendly soccer match between France and Germany.

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility. Five days later three terrorists were killed during a police raid on an apartment block.

On the Monday following  the attacks a Requiem Mass and Payer Service was held at St Mary's Cathedral with the Archbishop of Sydney, Most Rev Anthony Fisher OP for the victims of the terrorist attacks in Paris and other recent suicide bombings in the Middle East. It was attended by civic, political, community and  leaders of other religions along with  hundreds of people who came to pray and offer their thoughts and respects to victims, families and friends.

In his letter to  Archbishop Fisher, the French Cardinal said people all over the world had reached out to the people of Paris.

Archbishop of Paris Cardinal André Vingt-Trois at the Notre Dame Cathedral memorial service following the Paris attacks

Cardinal André Vingt-Trois wrote:

Dear friends,

Following the tragic attacks in Paris on Friday, November 13, 2015, I have received messages of friendship, compassion and prayers from all over the world.

There were so many that I cannot answer one individually, but I wanted to thank you all.

These testimonials show how this drama has resonated worldwide and that it is the whole of humanity which has been injured and feels concerned.

As I have had the occasion to say to all the Catholic people of Paris, as we face the violence of men, may we receive the grace of a strong heart, without hatred. We pray that the moderation, temperance and control that we have witnessed so far, will continue in the coming weeks and months; don't allow yourself be caught up in madness or hatred.

A few days before Advent, as we prepare to welcome the Prince of Peace and the commencement of the Holy Year of Mercy, we entrust the victims, the injured and their loved ones tro the Lord, and we ask Him to make each one of us peacemakers and signs of the Divine Mercy. We must never despair of peace if we all work towards justice.

 +Cardinal André Vingt-Trois, Archbishop of Pari

Notre Dame Cathedral became a focal point for candle tributes after the attacks.

Meantime Belgium has lowered the security threat level in Brussels ending six days on maximum alert, but the prime minister warned that the risk of a Paris-style attack remained serious and police and troops remain on the streets.

The nationwide threat level was raised to Three -- "Serious" -- after the Nov. 13 Islamic State attacks in Paris, which involved at least two suicide bombers from Brussels.

The brother of one them, suspected of being the eighth member of the squad mentioned by the Syria-based militant group, is still being hunted after he returned home to Brussels in the hours after the Paris attacks.

Sixteen people have been arrested in Belgium in raids following the devastation in Paris.