Tragic Nora Quoirin cherished by community: parish priest
The mother of Nora Quoirin is "very thankful" for the huge support from people across the world and their prayers, the family's parish priest has said.
Fr Marcus Holden was speaking ahead of a vigil last night at Nora's home parish of St Bede's in Clapham Park, south London, where prayers have been said since her disappearance on August 4.
Fr Holden says the Quoirin family are active members of the church community and parishioners are mourning the passing of the "much loved" teenager.
"This community knows the Quoirin family really well and everybody is heartbroken by the news about Nora," the priest said.
"The family have been part of our church all of Nora's life and she made her First Communion here a few years ago.
"Nora, along with her family, were very much involved in parish life, always at Mass and known to those both in the church and school.
"She has been through our two schools, St Bede's and St Bernadette's, so lots of people cherished her.
"Nora's mother Meabh is also chair of the board of governors of our schools."
Remembering the teenager, Fr Holden added: "Nora was a beautiful young girl, who was very quiet and innocent, but everyone loved her.
"While she was a little bit shy, she was lovely and devout, and someone for whom people had a great affection."
Fr Holden will also be holding a public Mass for Nora at St Bede's tonight.
"We are really just trying to provide people with some comfort and support at this terrible time," he said.
"While it's impossible to give people answers about why these things happen in these particular situations, we do have hope and confidence for Nora that she is in the hands of our heavenly father.
"Even though the family are on the other side of the world, we have been praying for them over the past few days and will continue to do that.
"I have been in contact with Meabh and in a message she has said that the family are very thankful for the massive amount of support and prayers being offered for them across the world," Fr Holden added.
"When they come back home to the parish, which will be a very challenging time for them, they have a strong community who loves them and will support them in the days, weeks and months ahead."
The head teacher at Nora's school in Wandsworth, south-west London, has also paid tribute to her and said her fellow pupils and others who knew her will be supported at such a difficult time.
Mike Reeves said: "The Garratt Park School community is deeply shocked and saddened by this awful news.
"Nora was a delight to work with and focused very hard on making the best of her abilities.
"We are a small school, so most of our students knew Nora.
"We will be working hard to support our other students and their parents and carers. Our thoughts and prayers are with Nora's family."
Prayers were also being offered at St Brigid's Church in south Belfast, where Nora was baptised in August 2004 and where her grandparents Eithne and Michael Agnew are parishioners.