It was exactly one year ago today, that Fr. Jacques Hamel, an 85-year-old priest in France, was killed while celebrating Mass after two gunmen, claiming allegiance to the Islamic State, stormed his church in Normandy and took him along with four others hostage in a violent attack.
An anniversary Mass was held earlier today at the small Church, where Fr. Hamel was killed. Archbishop Dominique Lebrun of Rouen thanked politicians, including French President Emmanuel Macron, and the city's mayor for participating in the ceremony. He also welcomed representatives of the local Muslim community, to whom he said, “Your friendship is truly important.”
In his homily, the Archbishop said, “Though he is dead, Father Jacques Hamel is still alive. In this church, when Father Hamel spoke, he spoke the language of love. In this church, Father Hamel was silenced. Today, Fr. Hamel still speaks. His life and his death speak long after his death.”
After the Mass, the French President addressed the congregation and the said that, “By murdering Father Hamel at the foot of his altar, the two terrorists undoubtedly believed they were sowing the thirst for vengeance and retaliation among French Catholics,” But “They have failed.”
Father Hamel's martyrdom drew the Pope’s attention, who celebrated a memorial Mass for him in September, here he said that Fr. Hamel, “is blessed now”.
Now, the first meeting in the process for Father Hamel's sainthood cause took place last May, and the results of the local investigation into his life should be completed and ready for the Vatican review in the next few years.
To the Middle-East now, where some Iraqi’s are making a slow return to the region around Mosul, following the defeat of the Islamic State group. But the question now is will Iraqi Christians who fled that area, return home?
I have Carl Hetu, the Canadian National Director for the Catholic Near-East Welfare Association standing-by, to answer that exact question.
The 97th annual CWL convention is just around the corner. This year, the big event will be held in the beautiful province of PEI. You can be certain that we’ll bring you coverage and updates from the event. Our very own Emilie Callan, brings you some of the details.
That's all for today. Join us again on tomorrow, when I bring you more news and stories from a Perspectives of a Catholic Lens. Thanks for joining us.
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