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Thousands Attend French Priest’s Funeral

Thousands have attended the funeral in Rouen cathedral in Normandy of French priest Father Jacques Hamel, who was murdered in his church by Islamist extremists last week.

A public ceremony was led by the city’s archbishop, after which Father Hamel was to be interred in a private burial.

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve and senior Roman Catholic clerics attended the service.

Father Hamel had his throat cut when two men stormed his church during Mass.

At the service his sister, Roselyne, told the congregation that her brother, who was 85, had been a man of “mercy and love”.

She said he had turned down an officer position when doing his military service in Algeria, as the role would have required him to give the order for his men to kill other men.

“His refusal was categorical.” she said. “He chose to serve God so that he can cultivate love and sharing and tolerance among people of all faiths and denominations, believers and non-believers, throughout his life.”

She said Father Hamel’s message to everyone would be: “Let us learn to live together. Let us be the workers and artisans of peace, each one in his own way.”

In the homily, Rouen Archbishop Dominique Lebrun said: “As brutal and unfair and horrible as Jacques’ death was, we have to look deep into our hearts to find the light.” He called for forgiveness, quoting the New Testament command to love your neighbours.

Source: BBC

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