Unit 1012 Cover Photo

Unit 1012 Cover Photo

Wednesday, July 26, 2017


Jacques Hamel martyred on July 26, 2016

We, the comrades of Unit 1012, will remember Father Jacques Hamel, as a Christian Martyr on 30 November and 26 July every year.

The Reverend Father
Jacques Hamel
Servant of God
Father Jacques Hamel

30 June 1958
by Joseph-Marie Martin
Personal details
30 November 1930
Darnétal, Seine-Maritime, France
26 July 2016 (aged 85)
Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvray, France
Venerated in
Roman Catholic Church
Title as Saint
Servant of God

Jacques Hamel (30 November 1930 – 26 July 2016) was a French Catholic priest in the parish of Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvray. On 26 July 2016, Hamel was murdered during the 2016 Normandy church attack by two Muslim men pledging allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant while he celebrated Mass in his church.
The circumstances of his death have led him to be called a martyr by Christians, including Pope Francis, non-Christians, and the press. Calls to make him a saint started soon after his death. The canonization cause was officially opened at diocesan level in April 2017, after Pope Francis had waived the otherwise mandatory five-year waiting period for the opening of such causes.

The funeral of 85-year-old Father Jacques Hamel will be held at the 11th Century Gothic cathedral in the city of Rouen.

Early life

Hamel was born on 30 November 1930 in Darnétal, France. At the age of six he became a choirboy in St. Paul's Church in Rouen and at 14 he entered the minor seminary. He served in the military for 18 months in Algeria. He did not wish to be an officer as he did not want to issue orders to other men to kill.

Jacques Hamel celebrating a mass in June 2016. Photograph: HO/AFP/Getty Images


Hamel was ordained as a priest on 30 June 1958. He served as a vicar at the St. Antoine church in Le Petit-Quevilly from 1958, a vicar at the Notre-Dame de Lourdes church in Sotteville-lès-Rouen from 1967, a parish priest in Saint-Pierre-lès-Elbeuf from 1975, and a parish priest in Cléon from 1988. He joined the church in Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvray in 2000. He officially retired at the age of 75, but was allowed to keep serving in the parish. As a result, he assumed his role as the parish's assistant priest from 2005 to his death.

With local imam Mohammed Karabila, the president of Normandy's regional council of Muslims, Hamel worked since early 2015 on an interfaith committee. After Hamel's death, Karabila described him as his friend with whom he had discussed religion and as also someone who gave his life for others.

Tombe du Père Jacques Hamel au cimetière de Bonsecours
Death and legacy

Main article: 2016 Normandy church attack

Hamel died when his throat was slit by two Muslim men, Adel Kermiche and Abdel Malik Petitjean, who both pledged allegiance to the Islamic State. The attack occurred while Hamel was saying Mass in his parish in Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvray on 26 July 2016. During the attack, Hamel said "Satan, go!" when confronted by his killers.

Pallbearers carry the coffin of Father Jacques Hamel into Rouen Cathedral which was followed by fellow priests and bishops 
Commemorations and funeral

A Mass was held in his memory at Notre Dame de Paris on 27 July 2016. It was celebrated by the archbishop of Paris, André Vingt-Trois, and attended by president François Hollande, prime minister Manuel Valls and ministers Jean-Marc Ayrault, Bernard Cazeneuve, Emmanuel Macron and Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, as well as former presidents Nicolas Sarkozy and Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, the archbishop of Rouen, Dominique Lebrun, and the apostolic nuncio to France, Luigi Ventura.

The Funeral Mass was held at Rouen Cathedral on 2 August 2016, drawing a crowd of thousands and a large number of luminaries including senior clerics, the French interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve and former prime minister Laurent Fabius. Pope Francis instructed Lebrun to place images of Hamel in all the local churches.

In August 2016, the Italian arm of Aid to the Church in Need announced it would cover the cost of training 1,000 new priests in countries like Nigeria, Cuba, Zambia, the Democratic Republic of Congo and India in response to Hamel's murder. Likewise, in August 2016, in memory of Father Hamel's martyrdom, Br. Alexis Bugnolo founded the Ordo Militaris Catholicus, "international defense and security initiative of Catholics for Catholics who are suffering persecution for their faith, where their defense and liberation requires military intervention or security actions, and this is allowed by local and/or international law.."

Pope Francis celebrates a special Mass for Hamel on 14 September 2016
Canonization cause

On the same day of the murder, public figures like the president of Lombardy, Roberto Maroni, called on Pope Francis to "immediately proclaim him St Jacques". The hashtag #santosubito ("saint now") trended on Twitter.

Hamel was called a martyr by some international press shortly after his death. On 13 August, La Croix reported that archbishop Dominique Lebrun of Rouen said he thought Hamel was a martyr, but the decision to declare him so was the pope's. He added that "formally, it is the bishop of the person's place of death to initiate the procedure." Anthony Fisher, the archbishop of Sydney, suggested he 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."

On September 14, 2016, Pope Francis referred to Hamel as "blessed", a title used prior to canonisation. "This man accepted his martyrdom next to the martyrdom of Christ, on the altar," Pope Francis said on 14 September during a homily at a Mass held for Hamel's soul at the Vatican. "He is a martyr and martyrs are beatified," the pope continued. Two weeks later Archbishop Lebrun announced in a homily that the Pope had formally waived the five-year waiting period needed before the start of a canonization process, and that he had decided to prepare it without delay.

During Chrism Mass (on Holy Thursday, 13 April 2017), Archbishop Lebrun publicly announced the opening of the Canonization cause, with all of Rouen's clergy gathered. Archbishop Lebrun also said the Pope himself allowed a photo of Fr. Jacques to be put in a church, and called him blessed. Fr Paul Vigouroux, vice-chancellor of the diocese of Rouen, has been appointed postulator of the Cause, in charge of the local investigation. The Archdiocese of Rouen distributed a prayer to request Father Jacques's intercession. The prayer makes reference to the circumstances of his murder, including his unmasking of Satan, the divisor and his death in the habits of prayer.

On July 31, 2017, Hezbollah fighters in Arsal town of north Lebanon, wrote down a salute for the soul of Father Jacque Hamel. In a salute written from the battleground on a carton sign they wrote, "Father Jacque Hamel, your soul will never be lightened off, we will live in all ages with your memory. Don't worry, we will protect our Christian brothers. Peace be upon you, your brothers in Hezbollah."

See also



Heroic Priests: Père Jacques Hamel

“The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.”
Poem Dedicated to Père Jacques Hamel, by Unknown

Behind the altars candles gently burn.
A wisp of smoke dances then fades away
as Father Jacques, too old for dancing, pauses.
Another morning Mass, another day.

For many years this man of peace has stood here
in service of his people and his Lord.
In joy and pain, in sorrow and rapture,
a constant beacon in a darkening world.

But as he scans the faces of the faithful
two unfamiliar faces appear
and, in those final moments at the altar,
he knows that perfect love which drives out fear.

Your service ended, Ite Missa Est.
Faithful servant enter now your rest.

Paris, France, Jul 27, 2016 / 11:08 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Sister Danielle, one of the religious who was held hostage by ISIS at a church in France, was able to escape in a moment of inattention by the terrorists and alert the police.

However, they were not able to arrive in time to save the life of 84-year-old Father Jacques Hamel.

Speaking to RMC Radio, the sister related the incident that led to the death of the first priest at the hands of ISIS in Europe and which left another person severely wounded.

“I didn’t think they were going to come after Jacques. It was still dawn. He was standing in front of the altar, they made him get down on his knees and then he started to resist. When we saw the knife in the right hand I said to myself, ‘well, something’s really going to happen there,’” she said.

Sister Danielle said that even though the other nun and the faithful present were shouting to the terrorists to stop, they went ahead.

“They were shouting ‘you Christians are wiping us out.’ They were taping themselves on video. They made a kind of sermon around the altar in Arabic. It was horrifying.”

“He was an extraordinary priest,” she recalled, “that’s all I can say. Father Jacques is great.”

Fr. Hamel was killed Tuesday after two armed gunmen stormed a church in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray in Normandy during Mass. The assailants entered the church and took the celebrating priest and four others hostage. Local law enforcement reported that the priest’s throat was slit in the attack, and that both of the hostage takers were shot dead by police. One of the hostages has been critically wounded.

Pope Francis decried the “absurd violence” in a statement Tuesday, adding that he is praying for those affected by the tragedy.

The French bishops have designated Friday, July 29, as a day of fasting. Msgr. Olivier Ribadeau Dumas, secretary general of the French Bishops Conference who’s currently in Poland for World Youth Day, discussed the decision July 26.

“What happened in France had happened in other countries before, and actually we see Christians laying down their lives in the interests of their faith,” he told journalists in Krakow.

“They die because they are objects of hate and this for a fact gives us an additional motivation to live the life of fraternity we are called to.”

Video Courtesy of Ina Société
News Story Courtesy of Catholic News Agency

No comments:

Post a Comment