First responders secure the area at the crash scene near Carberry, Manitoba, Canada on June 15, 2023, in this still image obtained from a social media video. The crash claimed the lives of 15 people and ten others were injured. OSV NEWS photo/Mike Blume, PortageOnline via Reuters

Christ's compassion needed in Manitoba bus crash aftermath

  • June 19, 2023

The compassion of Christ is what is needed now as the small community of Dauphin, Man., comes to grips with the loss of 15 of its members in a tragic accident on the Trans-Canada Highway, said the parish priest at the local parish.

In his homily June 18, three days after the crash that claimed 15 lives and saw 10 others injured, many critically, Fr. Michel Nault alluded to the Gospel reading (Matthew 9:36-10:8) that sees Jesus showing benevolence to the crowds in His midst before charging His 12 disciples with the power to drive out unclean spirits and cure all manners of disease and illness.

“Jesus showed compassion for the people, and I really think it is important to show compassion on a day like this where we are all dealing with something really difficult,” said Nault.

Residents of Dauphin, Man. and Canadians from coast-to-coast are mourning and seeking answers about the devastating crash between a transport truck and a minibus. 

The RCMP is investigating the collision. The seniors were heading from the Dauphin area to a casino outing near Carberry, Man., about two hours away. The truck was heading east, and it collided with the southbound minibus at the intersection. The police have deemed the transport truck had the right of way. 

Nault said he was in the parish office on that afternoon when he received news about this horrific event through text messages.

“When I heard that it was a minivan that left from here, my gut just was — I just felt terrible,” said Nault. 

He went over to visit the Dauphin Active Living Centre and the horrific news was confirmed.

One of the foremost messages Nault said he imparts when helping people to grapple with tragedies is that “to feel not normal is normal,” and to experience “up-and-down feelings is not unusual in a situation like this.”

“I want to share that in a time like this that the feelings, the tears — they are not signs of weakness. Quite the opposite. They are signs of love and that we share a common humanity, even though we didn’t necessarily know everybody in the accident. We are sharing this experience of tragedy as a community.”

The St. Viator pastor then offered his insight on the difficult question on what could be done to help somebody going through a tragedy. 

“The bottom line is grief,” said Nault. “And grief is grief. The most important aspect of grief is just to be present and listen.

“The grief to be dealt with — we just deal with (grief) like we usually do, but just a little more. We pray a little more for others. We do more acts of kindness for each other. What you do, if you are doing it out of love, it will have a positive effect. The fruits of love will be there.”

Messages of love and support have flooded the Dauphin community since the tragedy. 

Winnipeg Archbishop Richard Gagnon released a statement on June 16, stating that the archdiocese “extends its prayers to the people of Dauphin and the families and friends of those who lost their lives or were injured.” 

Gagnon called for all parishioners to pray for everyone affected by the accident. He encouraged all parishes to include a special intention during the prayers of the faithful for the next two weeks. The suggested intention reads as follows:

“We pray for those who were injured in the accident that took place in Carberry, Man., this past week. For their families and all those affected by the tragedy, may they find strength and healing in the weeks to come.”

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