French priest killed by Islamic State was "a priest and nothing more, and that speaks to all mankind"
The cause for the beatification of an elderly French priest killed a year ago by adherents of Islamic State is moving along quickly.
Father Jacques Hamel was an 86-year-old priest celebrating a morning Mass on July 26, 2016, in a church of Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, Normandy. Entering through the rear door of the church, two men yelled allegiance to Daesh (ISIS) and killed him.
Jacques Hamel, born in 1930 in Darnétal and ordained a priest in 1958, was vicar of the parish of Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray. He celebrated his golden jubilee in 2008.
Now the archbishop of Rouen is saying that the diocesan phase of his cause for beatification will be wrapped up within three years or so.
Archbishop Dominique Lebrun said this in the July 24-25, 2017, edition of L’Osservatore Romano, explaining that the rapid pace of the research and study that goes into preparing a beatification cause is motivated by the fact that most of the eye-witnesses of the attack are elderly.
Archbishop Lebrun said he asked Pope Francis permission to expedite the procedures.
Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for Saints’ Causes, took up that request.
Pope Francis already invoked a rarely-used exemption and waived the five-year waiting period after a person’s death, before a cause for beatification can be initiated.
It is necessary to move quickly, explained the Archbishop of Rouen, “to collect the testimony of other victims of the attack, most of whom are very old.”
The first session for the study of beatification took place May 20, he went on to say, during which the tribunal heard from a dozen witnesses.
Fr. Hamel, continued Bishop Lebrun, has “a reputation of holiness or martyrdom.” “He was not a media priest,” he added, but “a priest and nothing more, and that speaks to all mankind.” AH
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