Community gathers for prayers
Hundreds of mourners gathered around the clock tower in Enniskerry last night (Tuesday) for a candlelit vigil in memory of the late Jastine Valdez.
The Filipino community of north Wicklow and natives of the region alike joined in grief to remember their friend and neighbour.
The previous evening, prayers were said in Enniskerry at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Church, and in Bray around 200 people attended prayers at St Fergal's Church.
A service was also held at the Blessed Sacrament Chapel in Dublin, led by Fr Rene Esoy SSS, who is the spiritual adviser of the Filipino Community Network (FCN) and Couples for Christ Ireland CLG.
A vigil will be held today (Wednesday) in Cork, organised by the United Filipino-Irish Association, with Mass at St Joseph's Church, Wilton, Cork, on Friday night.
The Powerscourt Arms hotel in the village has opened a book of condolence at reception for members of the community to sign. Books of condolence have also been opened in the village churches.
'Our thoughts and prayers are with Jastine's family and friends at this devastating time,' the Powerscourt Arms posted on social media. 'As the community tries to come to terms with the events of the last 48 hours, little anyone says will help ease the pain of Jastine's passing. However, the community can grieve together. We can show support to Jastine's family, friends and Filipino community at this devastating time.'
Parish priest Fr Bernard Kennedy said that the people of Enniskerry are very much standing with the Valdez family in their prayers and in their feeling of empathy. 'We have been praying for them at Mass,' he said. 'Jastine could have been any of our sisters, daughters or granddaughters. She was a beautiful young person and new to the country.' Fr Bernard said that the Filipino people do so much for our country, particularly in medicine and healthcare. 'There are feelings of sadness, shock and deep upset,' he said. 'We are thinking of the lovely Filipino people and their community in Wicklow and Dublin.'
Archbishop of Dublin Dr Michael Jackson said that the discovery of Jastine's body had brought to a tragic end a weekend of anguish and pain for the young woman. 'Having been in the nearby parish on Sunday morning and heard of the worries of parishioners of Powerscourt and Kilbride for her, I would like to express my sadness at Jastine's death,' he said. 'I also wish to voice the sympathy of the local Church of Ireland community to her family and all who loved her. May she rest in peace and may those who mourn her loss be comforted in their distress at this harrowing time.'