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‘Father Hamel Sowed Peace!’

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‘Father Hamel Sowed Peace!’

“€œFather Hamel sowed peace!”€ said the Archbishop of Rouen, France, Monsignor Dominique Lebrun, in an interview published in L”€™Osservatore Romano, July 25, in preparation of the first anniversary of Father Jacques Hamel”€™s murder, today, July 26. The 85-year-old priest was slain a year ago by two Islamic extremist youths, while he was celebrating Mass in the church of Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray.

“€œHis death was an extremely strong event from the human and spiritual point of view,”€ explained Archbishop Lebrun, who added: “€œin one year there have been no disagreements regarding Father Hamel.”€ “€œDifferent opinions were never made known that became conflictive, which is very rare,”€ said the prelate.

“€œNow that he is dead, Father Hamel is even more alive, stressed Archbishop Lebrun. “€œHis figure of priest, simple and exemplary, questions me as Pastor and Bishop on the way of considering the life of priests, of what I expect from them in terms of “€˜efficiency,”€™”€ continued the former Bishop of Saint-Etienne, transferred only two years ago, in July 2015, by Pope Francis to Normandy. “€œYes, I can say that what happened has transformed me as bishop,”€ he affirmed.

Archbishop Lebrun described Father Hamel as a “€œsimple and exemplary priest,”€ more than that, “€œperhaps exemplary because he was simple.”€ Without a doubt the death of the elderly priest affects one, it was like “€œthe death of a martyr, the death of Jesus, namely, of an innocent who gave his life for God and who was killed while consecrating himself to God.”€

For the Archbishop of the administrative center of Normandy, the history of the process of Beatification of Father Jacques Hamel began the day after his murder. “€œThe word martyr was pronounced by many people and is found in the various letters I have received,”€ he said. Even if Pope Francis accelerated the process, there is no hurry. “€œWe will take the necessary time so that things are done not only according to the canonical norms but also with great seriousness,”€ said Archbishop Lebrun, who foresees the result of the investigation being sent to Rome “€œin the span of one to three years.”€

Father Hamel”€™s simplicity “€œspeaks to all,”€ explained the Archbishop, speaking of the “€œreputation of holiness and of martyrdom”€ that accompanies the murdered priest. “€œHe was a Catholic priest, a universal priest,”€ who did what a priest in Australia, in Kenya, in India or in Latin America does every day.”€ Father Hamel wasn”€™t a media priest; he was a diocesan priest, a priest and that”€™s it, and this speaks to all of humanity,”€ he concluded.


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