Czech Republic Mourns the Loss of 14 Lives in Devastating University Shooting

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Following Thursday, December 21, 2023’s shooting at Charles University on Jan Palach Square in central Prague, The Czech government has declared today, December 23, 2023, a day of mourning.

President Petr Pavel declared December 23 to be a day of mourning at a special cabinet meeting. The public was asked to observe a minute of silence at noon, and flags on government buildings and other buildings would fly at half mast, and bells nationwide would ring at noon.

“This was after a 24-year-old student shot dead his father before killing 14 others and wounding 25 others at Charles University in the country’s worst-ever mass shooting, three of whom were foreigners. The perpetrator committed suicide when a police officer opened fire on him,” said police chief Martin Vondrasek .

Pavel expressed his deepest condolences to the families of the victims and all those affected by the tragedy, which is the worst event in the history of the Czech Republic, as well as his sadness and outrage over the needless loss of so many young lives.

Memorial ceremonies and religious services are being held in memory of the victims around the country, especially at the cathedrals of Pilsen, Brno, Hradec KrΓ‘lovΓ©, Ostrava, and Olomouc.

Across the Czech Republic, all cities have decided to cancel or alter holiday and Advent celebrations this weekend. Theatres and concert venues, Christmas market programs, and sporting events have all been adjusted, postponed, or canceled as a show of respect, authorities said.

Czech President Petr Pavel and other leaders are expected to attend a requiem mass to honor the victims of the tragic shooting. From 11 a.m. on, Prague Archbishop Jan Graubner will preside over a mass in St. Vitus Cathedral at Prague Castle.

In a telegram sent following the attack, Pope Francis also expressed his β€œspiritual closeness to all affected by this tragedy.”

Signed by Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, the Pope’s message entrusted “those who have died to the loving mercy of Almighty God” and invoked “divine strength and consolation upon their grieving families and friends.”

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