Bishop of Oakland, California offers condolences following balcony-collapse tragedy
The Bishop of Oakland, California has offered his condolences following the deaths of five Irish students and one Irish-American after a balcony collapsed in Berkley, California.
Five of the students died at the scene while another died in hospital. Seven others were injured in the collapse, with police saying that many of the wounded have critical, life-threatening injuries.
The six were named by police as: Ashley Donohoe, 22; Olivia Burke, 21; Eoghan Culligan, 21; Niccolai Schuster, 21; Lorcan Miller, 21; and Eimear Walsh, 21. Ms Donohoe, who had dual US-Irish citizenship, lived in California while the other five who died all had home addresses in Ireland.
Mr Culligan and Mr Schuster were both past-pupils of St Mary’s College in Rathmines, Dublin.
The majority of the victims were in the US on work visas, on the J-1 USA summer work and travel programme.
The Bishop of Oakland, Michael Barber SJ has been in contact with the Archbishop of Armagh, Eamon Martin to offer his condolences. Bishop Barber expressed his sorrow to Archbishop Eamon that this tragedy occurred and offered an assurance of continued prayers for all those affected.
Bishop Barber assured Archbishop Martin that the priests and diocesan staff in Oakland diocese are providing all the support they can to all those affected by the tragic events in Berkeley.
Bishop Barber arranged a special Memorial Mass which was celebrated on Wednesday at 7pm in the Cathedral of Christ the Light in Oakland. The Mass provided an opportunity to offer prayer and consolation to all those affected by the tragedy and to remember in a special way those who died and those who have been injured.
Bishop Barber presided over the Mass and Fr Aidan McAleenan preached the homily. Fr McAleenan was one of the priests who was ministering at the hospitals where the wounded were brought on Tuesday.
Archbishop Martin expressed his thanks to Bishop Barber and to all of those who are helping in any way in Berkeley, Oakland at this time. Archbishop Martin and Bishop Barber will both continue to offer prayers in the coming days that the love and mercy of Christ may comfort all who are grieving at this time.
Engineers investigating the balcony collapse have stated that it is possible the structure gave way due to rain and water damage, however they have made clear that this was not an official conclusion and their investigation is still under way.Tags: Archbishop Martin, Archbishop of Armagh, Balcony, Bishop Barber, Bishop of Oakland, California, California balcony collapse, Cathedral of Christ the Light, Collapse, dublin, Ireland, Irish, St Mary's College, Tragedy, US