Condolences and prayers for Fr Hamel and France

The Archbishop of Canterbury and Anglican leaders have offered their condolences to the people of France and the Catholic Church following the murder of Fr. Jacques Hamel 

The Archbishop of Canterbury and Anglican leaders around the world have offered their condolences to the people of France and the Catholic Church following the murder of Fr. Jacques Hamel on 26 July 2016. Adel Kermiche and Abdel Malik Nabil Petitjean, both aged 19, entered the parish church of Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvray during the morning mass and attacked the priest and worshippers. They forced Fr. Hamel to kneel before the altar and slit his throat whilst shouting praise to Allah. Kermiche and Petitjean were shot dead by police as they left the Sainte Thérèse church after the attack.  Three other hostages were injured in the attack, and one remains in serious condition. A Mass was held in his memory at Notre Dame de Paris on 27 July 2016 celebrated by the Archbishop of Paris Cardinal André Vingt-Trois and attended by President François Hollande, Prime Manuel Valls, former presidents Nicolas Sarkozy and Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, and other government, civic and church leaders. Catholic leaders have called Fr. Hamel a martyr. The Catholic Herald reported that at a mass in repose of Fr. Hamel’s soul, Melbourne Catholic Archbishop Anthony Fisher stated the priest had died in odium fidei (in hatred of the faith), adding: “This is a term Catholics use to describe the characteristic death of a martyr, as one who dies for his or her faith, and because of that faith.”  Immediately following the news of the attack, the Archbishop of Canterbury released a statement via Twitter: “Evil attacks the weakest, denies truth and love, is defeated through Jesus Christ. We pray for France, for the victims and for their communities.” He later joined the leaders of Churches Together in England in a statement saying: “We are deeply saddened to learn of the brutal murder of our brother. . . That a man of peace who had dedicated his life to serving people could be killed during Mass is testimony to the evil that drives the actions of those who commit such a crime.” They offered their prayers and sympathy to the friends and family of the deceased and also prayed for the “peace of France, Europe, the Middle East and the world for which Jesus, the Prince of Peace, gave his own life.” Writing from Poland where he was attending the World Youth Days festival the Archbishop of Rouen, Msgr. Dominique Lebrun, “The only weapons which the Catholic Church can take up are prayer and fraternity among peoples. I return home leaving hundreds of young people who are the future of humanity, the truth. I ask them not to give up in the face of violence but to become apostles of the civilization of love.” Msgr. Lebrun will preside at Fr. Hamel’s funeral at Rouen Cathedral on 2 Aug 2016. The Bishop of the Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe, the Rt. Rev. Pierre Whalon posted on Facebook that he had been invited by the archbishop to attend the funeral along with three imams to honor Fr. Hamel. The Suffragan Bishop in Europe, the Rt. Rev. David Hamid offered his condolences to Msgr. Lebrun also, writing: “We pray for the faithful of his parish and of your diocese who are troubled and shocked by this act of violence that took place in the middle of the celebration of the Mass. We pray for the people of France, that they may be comforted by God during this period of insecurity, fear and violence.”

 
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