In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks in Belgium, a Catholic priest, Fr Michel Gaillard who counseled survivors of the Brussels attacks said he was shocked by the “profound humanity” shown by those caught up in the situation.
During an interview with Catholic News Service, Fr. Gaillard said, “I’ve heard so many stories, including testimonies from those who were 15 yards away when the bombs exploded, and who were blown off their feet and injured.”
Fr Gaillard said he had been on his way to Zaventem when the bomb blast happened and had helped provide emotional and spiritual care to those affected by the tragedies. Many lost passports and luggages and were desperately seeking friends and relatives, he said.
He added that Orthodox, Protestant and Jewish airport chaplains also had offered spiritual and pastoral help to those affected.
“Some people have asked me to pray with them and for them, while others have just needed to talk about what happened to them,” the Catholic chaplain said.
“In a world where finance is often considered the most important thing, this event has reminded us of our vulnerability — as well as of the bonds of profound humanity we reveal in showing care and compassion for each other. This is the great lesson I take from what’s happened,” he added.
“Although people are still in shock, I’m moved by how many have placed themselves at the service of the injured and traumatized,” Fr. Gaillard said. Majority of those affected by this tragic incident were simple ordinary people, catching planes for holidays, to visit family members over the Easter holiday,” he explained.
Fr Gaillard criticized the government for putting blames on security services for not predicting the attacks for which the ISIS group claimed responsibility. However, he said police and officials at the scene should be thanked for “showing courage and doing their best.”
“Instead of making negative assessments, I think we should thank the police and medical staff who’ve done such a huge job in the face of such difficulties.”
Responding to the Brussels attacks, the Archbishop of Canterbury asked for prayers for those caught up in the tragedy saying:
“In the great Holy Week of Christian prayer and mercy, the Brussels attacks shock all those who seek peace and justice through the terrible cruelty and utter separation from all that is of God.
“Let us at every service this week pray for those caught up in the traumatic events at the airport and in the City of Brussels.”