The community of Kehewin is mourning the loss of two young boys who were found dead in an Edmonton townhouse early on Dec. 20.
Three-year-old Gabriel Justin J. Cardinal would have celebrated his fourth birthday on Dec. 28. Instead, his small coffin, along with that of Caleb Jason Cardinal, his six-year-old brother, would be carried into a funeral service, held on the morning of Dec. 28 at Our Lady of Mercy Parish in Kehewin, with Rev. Rene Realuyo serving as the celebrant. The wake for the two boys was held on Dec. 26 and 27 at the local school.
Realuyo, a priest from St. Louis Parish in Bonnyville, noted the boys' funeral was “very sombre,” and many of those attending had several memories to share about the children.
“It has affected the community,” Realuyo said, adding, “It's a very sad and very tragic experience for the community because of their deaths.
“When I did the homily, I told Andrea, their mother, that the healing process will not start unless there's forgiveness,” explained Realuyo. “And I know that it is hard to forgive.”
The boys' father, Jason Bruce Cardinal, 31, is facing two counts of first-degree murder after the two boys' bodies were found in a townhouse northeast of Edmonton on December 19.
Cardinal appeared in provincial court last Wednesday, but his case was adjourned until Feb. 8 for the Crown's disclosure on the charges.
“We have to move on with our lives … The two boys are in heaven, and let us deal with what we have in this community,” said Realuyo, adding, “Especially relationships and family relationships.”
The children were in the care of Alberta's Ministry of Children and Youth Services, but were not permanent wards. They had been living with their mother.