The Catholic Church today offered prayers and deepest sympathy for those who were killed and injured in the explosion on board a boat carrying asylum seekers near Ashmore Reef. Bishop Joseph Grech, the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference delegate for immigration issues, said the explosion was a tragedy for all involved. ‘As a Catholic community, we offer our prayers for those who have died and for their families,’ Bishop Grech said. ‘And I also wish to express my sympathy and support for those who have been so badly injured. ‘We are reminded in the most terrible way today of the dangers that people face when they seek to flee their homeland because of conflict or persecution. ‘I would like to thank all those who have been involved in any way with the rescue effort and with treating the injured. ‘At times like this, it is necessary for all parties concerned to sit down together and, with goodwill, continue to examine whether what we are doing as a nation in this area is the best thing for the welfare of people who find themselves in such dire situations.’ From time to time, the Catholic Church has a chaplain on Christmas Island to assist in meeting the spiritual needs of the detainees.