Sofia's ashes to be buried in school chapel

The ashes of murdered school Sofia Rodriguez-Urrutia-Shu will be laid to rest in a new school chapel at her former Catholic primary school in suburban Perth.

PerthNow reports that Sofia will be buried just a year after she was allegedly raped and strangled at a Canning Vale shopping centre.

It is a place her devastated family have never been able to return to, even to view the thousands of heartfelt tributes left in the days after her brutal daytime murder, the paper says.

Sofia's father Gabriel, who has never spoken publicly about his daughter's death, said in a written statement to The West Australian that the deeply religious family would not have been able to survive the past year if not for the thoughts and prayers of a concerned community.

"We are coping well thanks to our faith and the support of many members of the Mater Christi community, the school and Church who offer us not only their daily understanding but their love and friendship. We could not go on without all of you," he said.

"There are no positive things that have come out of this tragedy, but support from many people in the community is making it much easier to bear."

Mr Rodriguez said the family were still grieving but they were trying to come to terms with the hole Sofia's death had left in their lives.

"My daily goal is to bring as much happiness and laughter as possible to my home," he said. "It is not always possible, but we are getting there."

Parish priest Fr Bryan Rosling said Sofia's ashes would be buried in a chapel dedicated to her memory, built adjoining the Yangebup Mater Christi church her family attend.

Sofia's classmates sowed the chapel's foundations with 1000 silver medallions and most of the labour and materials, including more than $50,000 worth of marble from China, had been donated.

The Chapel of the Innocents was to be dedicated on the first anniversary of Sofia’s death, but labour and material shortages have delayed the ceremony at least two months. Instead, a small memorial service will be held on the chapel's grounds.

"It is going to be a day of tears and sorrow, but also a day of remembrance and a day of setting aside things to think of Sofia and thousands of other people like Madeleine McCann and her family," Fr Rosling said.

"She was just a little eight-year old girl and everything that is about an eight-year-old child has been taken away from us."

Children's chapel honours Sofia's short life (West Australian, 4/6/07)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Mater Christi school, Yangebup
Sofia Memorial Website

Sofia trial video in doubt (CathNews, 18/5/07)
Sofia's parents thank God for sharing "angel" (CathNews, 4/7/06)
Sofia's family ask for prayers (CathNews, 28/6/06)

4 Jun 2007