The ceremonies of homage to Father Jacques Hamel, slain five years ago during the mass he celebrated in the church of Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvray, took place this Monday morning in the town of the outskirts Rouen. French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin was present. He spoke of “the memory of a man who suffered barbarism and for whom we must fight”.
Adélaïde Patrignani (with ANSA) – Vatican City
Under an overcast sky, this morning of tributes began with the presentation of the Jacques Hamel Prize, awarded this year to journalist Antoine-Marie Izoard for his article “The ordeal of the displaced” appeared in the weekly Christian Family in March 2020.
It continued with a silent march, starting from the presbytery of Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvray, where Father Jacques Hamel resided, to arrive in the Saint-Étienne church. At the head of the procession, the Minister of the Interior Gérald Darmanin, as well as Roselyne Hamel, the sister of the murdered priest, and Mgr Dominique Lebrun, Archbishop of Rouen. Other local elected officials, parishioners and inhabitants of the city and the surrounding area also took part in this march.
Continue to fight barbarism
A mass was then celebrated by Mgr Lebrun in the Saint-Etienne church, place of the martyrdom of Father Hamel. “What is the great expectation of humanity, if not peace?”, asked the Archbishop of Rouen. “Evil stifles the good of peace, of justice. We know that too well here in this church. Evil has created lasting suffering ”, he lamented. Among the faithful, some had attended the mass celebrated by Father Hamel on July 26, 2016. Among them, Guy Coponet, himself seriously injured during the attack, and whose wife, also present during the attack. the attack, was dead a few weeks later.
At the end of the mass, a “republican ceremony” was held in homage to Father Hamel, organized by the municipality on the church square, in front of a “stele for peace and fraternity” erected in memory of the priest. .
“The government of the Republic commemorates its martyrs and no one can doubt that Jacques Hamel is part of it”, said Gérald Darmanin. “For France, Father Jacques Hamel is the memory of a man who suffered barbarism and for whom we must fight”. “Islamist barbarism, he continued, strikes all the constitutive symbols of the West and of France. The barbarism we are facing is barbarism difficult to fight (…) We will still have to fight, strongly and for a long time, against those who use God to kill ”. “To assassinate a priest in his church, doesn’t it deeply touch the soul of France ?, also launched the Minister of the Interior in front of the crowd. By touching the Catholic Church, by touching the Church of France, the terrorists did not simply touch those who believed in God, but they obviously touched all the French ”, he remarked.
Waiting for trial
For his part, Hubert Wulfranc, mayor of Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvray in 2016 and currently deputy for Seine-Maritime, spoke of a priest of a “Modesty and unparalleled simplicity”. The current mayor of the Norman city, Joachim Moyse, paid tribute to “The committed citizen of the church” who “carried a message of peace and hope”.
In addition, among the number of tributes paid on social networks, that of French Prime Minister Jean Castex underlines that on July 26, “The Nation collects and bows respectfully in memory of Father Jacques Hamel, who fell, 5 years ago, under the blows of Islamist terrorism. May his humanism and his message of fraternity guide us for a long time in the face of hatred and barbarism».
Father Hamel’s two killers, aged 19 and claiming Daesh, both S-cards, had been killed by law enforcement on their way out of the church on the day of the attack.
The trial of four people suspected of responsibility in this assassination is scheduled before the special assize court in Paris, from February 14 to March 11, 2022.