Mum's bravery 'shocked the world' after her children killed
Thousands have poured out onto the streets to pay their respects to the three Abdallah siblings killed in a tragic 4WD crash in western Sydney last weekend.
Streets are closed around the Our Lady of Lebanon church in Harris Park this morning as Christian hymns ring out over the PA system.
The crowd was so big it spilled out onto the street. Jenny Morrison and community leaders were among those paying their respects this morning.
The priest said the siblings' parents Daniel and Leila wanted this morning to be a celebration of the lives of Antony, 13, Angelina, 12, and Sienna, 9, through religious ceremony and prayer.
He said the three children were taken from the world at a "tender age".
The tragic incident occurred when an alleged drunk driver ran into the group of children as they were walking together to get ice cream in Oatlands.
Samuel William Davidson, 29, was allegedly three times the legal blood alcohol limit when he drove into the children.
He's been charged with 20 offences including four counts of manslaughter and is due to next appear in court in April.
Monsignor Shora Maree, a priest who led the service told thousands of people gathered at the church the siblings' mother Leila had "shocked the world" with her words of forgiveness for alleged drink driver who took their lives.
"Danny and Leila, we have seen in you the most inspirational example and testimony that is true of the power of God's love," he said.
"Leila, you said the words of forgiveness that shocked the world, it shocked the world.
"That doesn't come from something human, it comes from the divine.
"What an inspiration for all of us. We've seen the renewal of faith for many."
He said the three children had brought everyone together.
Leila told reporters that she forgave Davidson as she visited the crash site last Monday.
"I think in my heart I forgive him. But I want the court to be fair. I'm not going to hate him because that's not who we are," she said.
"It feels very unreal. I feel like I'm still waiting for them to come home."
In a religious Maronite ceremony of chanting, singing and prayer the priest said the children were deeply connected to their faith.
He said in one of the last moments Daniel spent with his son Antony he was driving him to a basketball game.
He said the teenager told his father he was going to play for basketball legend Kobe Bryant and they should stop at a church to pray on the way.
The priest said Sienna wanted to help a charity called Team Jesus feed the homeless in Blacktown for her eighth birthday instead of celebrating with cake.
"On her eighth birthday, Leila said to her it was Friday, what do you want to do, movies, cinema, time zone? She went mum, it's Friday - were going to go to Team Jesus and feed the hungry … that is love."
He said Angelia's teacher had said she "cared for everyone".
About 2000 people filled the church and lined the courtyard - some holding white roses and wearing pins with photos of the Abdallah siblings - as white hearses arrived.
Drummers from the Kings School, which Antony attended, led the procession into the church, followed by the children's parents.
Bells tolled as pallbearers - wearing navy suits with pink shirts to represent the children's genders - carried the coffins into the church.
A contingent of about 100 students from the Kings School and Tara Anglican School - which Sienna and Angelina attended - were also at the service.
Danny and Leila Abdallah recently revealed the "heart-wrenching sorrow" they have felt since the tragedy.
In a statement to 7 News, the parents said completely encapsulating the pain they were feeling would require "endless words of despair".
"Our children are our reason for living. Bringing them up in accordance with the ways of God, teaching them to love, affording them every opportunity and nurturing them into positive and impacting young men and women was, and is our life's purpose," they said.
"What is life without your children? How and where do we begin to pick up the pieces so that we may be effective parents to our three remaining angels?
"We start with forgiveness."
In their statement the grieving parents say they have made the decision to forgive Mr Davidson, stating that his "actions will be met before the earthly and heavenly judge".
A funeral service for Veronique is scheduled for Tuesday morning at the Santa Sabina college chapel in Strathfield.