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Pope Francis on Wednesday will celebrate a Mass in honor of Father Jacques Hamel in the Vatican. The French priest was murdered by two Islamic terrorists in late July as he himself was saying Mass for a small community. The celebration will be broadcast live at 7 a.m. Rome time (11 p.m. ET) through the Vatican’s Television Center, the Vatican’s spokesman Greg Burke said. On July 26, two men armed with knives broke into a church in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, and held the 86-year-old priest and several others – including two nuns – hostage for 40 minutes, killing the priest before being killed by the police. The French president said the attack was carried out by terrorists in the name of ISIS. Before slitting his throat, the perpetrators forced Hamel to kneel down. They said a prayer in Arabic, and killed him with a knife in his church, in the small city of Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, in rural Normandy. Soon after the news broke, the pontiff condemned the attack as “absurd violence.” A day later, as he was on his way to Poland to participate in a youth gathering, Francis told journalists travelling with him: “This holy priest who died in the very moment he was offering a prayer for the whole Church, is [only] one, but there are so many Christians, so many innocents, so many children … let’s think about Nigeria … ‘But it’s Africa’ … But it’s war!”
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