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Updated: Sat, 27 Jul 2013 10:12:22 GMT | By The Canadian Press, cbc.ca

Lac-Mégantic gathers for memorial mass 3 weeks after tragedy



Lac-Mégantic gathers for memorial mass 3 weeks after tragedy

About 1,000 people are expected to pack a Lac-Mégantic church this morning for a memorial service three weeks after a train derailment devastated the Quebec town.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Gov. Gen. David Johnston will be among the dignitaries attending the service.

The memorial is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. at Ste-Agnès Church and will be presided over by Luc Cyr, the archbishop of Sherbrooke.

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Some 700 places in the 1,000-seat church have been reserved for loved ones of the deceased, with the remaining pew spots set aside for locals, volunteers and dignitaries.

Kathy Clusiault, 24, was one of the victims of the derailment.

She lived above Musicafé, a popular bar near the train tracks, where many of the victims were enjoying the summer evening when the train careened of the tracks.

Jean Clusiault spoke to CBC News this morning before the mass began. He said his faith and his family's support has helped him through his grief.

"I’ve got great support and I know the preacher who is here. He’s a friend of mine and he helped me a lot," he said.

Forty-seven people were killed on July 6 when a train carrying crude oil derailed, causing multiple explosions at the centre of the bustling town.

The tragedy has triggered several lawsuits, a police criminal investigation and a probe by federal transportation-safety officials.

Quebec and the federal government have each promised $60 million for emergency assistance and longer-term reconstruction help for the town.

Ottawa has also revamped some of its rules on train transport, following the advice of the federal Transportation Safety Board.

With files from CBC News

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