Tiny Coffins Carried In As Family Farewell Young Siblings Killed By Alleged Drunk Driver
Three small, white coffins adorned with flowers, one blanketed in a Kobe Bryant jumper, set a heartbreaking scene for hundreds of mourners who gathered to farewell three children killed by an alleged drunk driver in Sydney.
Dozens of men, dressed in black and white, formed a guard of honour at Our Lady of Lebanon Co-Cathedral in Harris Park on Monday morning to farewell the Abdallah siblings, Sienna, 8, Angelina, 12, and Antony, 13.
One man paced up and down, repeatedly reminding the masses that they were “one family” as the hearses arrived to the sound of beating drums.
On Monday, Daniel and Leila Abdallah had to do the unimaginable -- bury three of their young children who died after they were allegedly hit by a drunk driver while walking to get ice cream in the western Sydney suburb of Oatlands earlier this month.
In a heart-wrenching service, the parents showed immense courage as they shared their indescribable grief of losing three of their six children with fellow mourners.
Daniel looked stoic as he stood alongside members of his family. The men wore pink shirts, while Leila and other women in attendance wore white at the family's request.
Also dressed in white, their sister broke down into tears as she took a seat in front of her siblings' coffins. All three featured flowers, while Bryant's jumper hung over Antony's.
Monsignor Shora Maree offered a homily on behalf of the family.
“Danny (Daniel), you said Jesus is the rock and Leila, you said the words of forgiveness that stunned the world,” Msgr Maree said.
“What an inspiration to all you are.”
Msgr Maree described Daniel as a testament to "the power of God's love".
"It's a huge question of why now, why three ... some may say, 'why didn't God stop this?' It's an understandable question,' he said.
"God did not do this, God allows it because it's going to bring his glory through."
Msgr Maree recalled how the children were always willing to give not take. To celebrate her eighth birthday, Sienna asked if she could help feed the homeless.
He then nodded to Antony’s love of basketball. Before he died, Msgr Maree recalled Antony telling his dad he wanted to dedicate a game to the late basketballer Kobe Bryant.
Speaking in front of a packed church Leila also offer a prayer.
"Thank you for the beautiful and precious lives of Antony, Angelina and Sienna," she said.
"They are rejoicing with you [God] today."
A young friend from the community also offered his prayers, saying “may we cherish all the good times we had together”.
“Fly high little angels,” he said.
Another family member asked God to “strengthen us and unite us” while one declared they "trust" the Lord to take care of siblings.
"May Antony, Angelina and Sienna earn the trust of your care, be held securely in your loving embrace," she said.
Msgr Maree returned to thank everyone for offering their love and respects, including NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, who attended the service.
On Friday, the devastated parents of the Abdallah children released a statement expressing their "heart-wrenching pain and sorrow".
"This is an unimaginable tragedy; unfathomable beyond all description," Danny and Leila Abdallah wrote in a statement on Friday.
"Our children are our reason for living. Bringing them up in accordance with the ways of God, teaching them to love, affording them every opportunity and nurturing them into positive and impacting young men and women was and is our life’s purpose."
The children's cousin Veronica Sakr, 11, was also killed in the crash. Her funeral will follow on Tuesday morning at the Santa Sabina college chapel in Strathfield.
Samuel Davidson, 29, was allegedly three times over the legal limit and had been drinking with his friends at a home before he crashed into the group of children.
The Abdallah family have shown incredible fortitude, saying they forgive the man accused of killing their three children.
"We forgive the driver that killed our innocent children," the parents said.
"We have decided in our hearts to forgive him -- for our sake, for the sake of our children and more so for Christ’s sake.