Berkeley balcony collapse victims remembered at mass in San Francisco

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Hundreds of people prayed for the victims of the balcony collapse in Berkeley during a mass at Saint Mary's Cathedral in San Francisco on Sunday. (KGO-TV)

Hundreds of people, including members of the Bay Area's Irish community, prayed for the victims of the balcony collapse in Berkeley during a mass at Saint Mary's Cathedral in San Francisco on Sunday.

During the mass, a priest read the names of six Irish students who died and others who were hurt.

"I've been speaking to people back home for the last couple of days and they've said they're really appreciative of the police, the emergency service, the support of the community given to the Irish students and their families here," said Lord Mayor Chris O'Leary of Cork, Ireland.

Victims of a balcony collapse in Berkeley, Calif. were remembered during a mass at Saint Mary's Cathedral in San Francisco on June 21, 2015.

Ireland's Minister of State for the Diaspora Jimmy Deenihan added that the support shown to the Irish families while they were in the Bay Area helped them cope with their loss.

"Thank you sincerely on behalf of the Irish people and the Irish government," Deenihan said during Sunday's mass.

Olivia Burke, Eoghan Culligan, Niccolai Schuster, Lorcan Miller and Eimear Walsh, all 21-year-olds from Ireland and Ashley Donohoe, 22, of Rohnert Park, were killed Tuesday when the balcony they were standing on snapped off the fifth floor of a Berkeley apartment building during a birthday party. Thirteen people were tossed 50 feet to the street below. The other seven remain hospitalized.

Father Brendan McBride of the Irish Immigration Pastoral Center in San Francisco urged those present Sunday to keep praying for the families of those who died and those who remain hospitalized.

"It's in this community of friendship that we share our burden," McBride said. "Continue to pray for them and support them."

VIDEO: Funeral held for two cousins killed in Berkeley balcony collapse

The Irish government says the bodies of four victims were flown home on Saturday.

Most of the students had been visiting the U.S. on J-1 cultural exchange visas.

Mourners paid their respects to two of the victims during an emotional service on Saturday in Cotati. Donohoe and Burke were cousins. Relatives say they were as close as sisters. During Saturday's service at Saint Joseph Catholic Church, the monsignor said the cousins' bodies were found in an embrace.

There is a growing memorial of flowers and messages at the scene of the tragedy, as friends and strangers pay their respects.

Engineers are investigating the cause of the collapse early Tuesday morning during a 21st birthday party. They say water damage may have caused the structure to give way.

PHOTOS: Several killed in balcony collapse in Berkeley
Click here to find out how you can support the Irish students currently in Berkeley during this difficult time.

Click here for a GoFundMe account for families of the Berkeley balcony collapse.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Related Topics:
religionu.s. & worldcollapseunstable buildingapartmentinvestigationberkeley balcony collapsevigilaccidentcollege studentsmemorialfuneralcatholic churchBerkeleySan Francisco
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