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Father Jacques Hamel: mgr. Lebrun (bishop), “he was silenced, but he will keep speaking to us and inspire us with thoughts of forgiveness and peace”

“Father Jacques Hamel spoke the language of love. In this church, father Jacques Hamel was silenced. He speaks no more. Yet, father Hamel still speaks. His life and his death speak louder than we would have imagined. His life and his death do speak. They inspire and they also scream. His life and his death are now addressed to all of us”. This was said by mgr. Dominique Lebrun, bishop of Rouen, in his sermon during the Mass that is being officiated in the Church of Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray this morning to commemorate the old priest, who was killed one year ago by two young terrorists. The bishop did not hide the pain and the choc that the Catholic community has felt this year. “During the year – he said –, we screamed as heinous images came to mind. We screamed and cried day and night. We screamed because we saw people kill in the name of God, we saw the human become inhuman, and, as the mother of one of the two murderers said, we screamed, how can God, who created us, be pleased at seeing us kill”. In this painful “climate”, father Hamel keeps speaking “softly with his discretion, his perseverance, his faithfulness, his generosity, his offered life. His life and his death speak when we see the first fruits” of his martyrdom, “friendship, agreement, dialogue, winning love, far beyond what we would have imagined”. At Mass, the small community of Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray prayed for all the families affected by terrorism, for the political leaders, that they may work for “peace among peoples”, for the believers of all religions, that they may “start processes of sharing and fraternity and be able to defeat fanaticism and blind violence”, for priests and young people called to priesthood, that they may follow father Hamel’s example. At the end of Mass, the bishop then said: “Father Hamel will keep inspiring us, not only with thoughts but also with deeds of forgiveness and peace”.

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