International News

Family Killed in Earthquake Mourned at Queens Parish

(Photo Screengrab: Our Lady of Sorrows livestream)

CORONA — As grieving Queens faithful mourned the loss of a local family killed in the earthquake that ravaged Turkey and Syria earlier this week, the pastor of Our Lady of Sorrows counseled them to “not lose the horizon of life.”  

At an evening Mass on Feb. 9 memorializing the Firik family, Father Jose Rafael Colon reminded those in attendance that the family is now in God’s hands. 

“It isn’t the best way, no one wants to lose a loved one, not in war, not in sudden death, if we can call it that, but let’s not lose the horizon of life,” Father Colon said. “Let’s remember the wise words of the apostle St. Paul in his letter to the Romans: ‘If we had died with Christ for the sacrament of baptism, we will resurrect with him for his resurrection.’ ” 

“We wish God gives, in a special manner, to this family, the Firik family, the eternal rest and that the perpetual light shines for them,” Father Colon continued. 

Burak Firik, 35, his wife Kimberly, 32, and their sons, 2-year-old Hamza and 1-year-old Bilal, were all killed during the Feb. 6 earthquake. The family was overseas visiting family in Elbistan, Turkey, at the time, according to reports. Extended family attended the Mass at the Corona church.  

The 7.8 magnitude earthquake killed more than 20,000 people in Turkey and Syria and left hundreds of thousands displaced. 

Father Colon said the church joins in praying for all those in Turkey and Syria affected by the earthquake, adding that at the Mass, they were celebrating the Firik family “as if it was the funeral of brothers and sisters of that family. 

“Everyone who’s lost their lives in this unjust war against Ukraine and in this catastrophe that has come to us in this the month of friendship, in this the month of love, the heart of the church is with you,” Father Colon said. “But above all, Jesus today tells you, ‘don’t lose your peace, this family is also with me because I have left to prepare them a place.’ ”