30th November 1930 – 26th July 2016
Jacques Hamel was a French Roman Catholic priest who was martyred whilst celebrating Mass in his parish church. He was a faithful priest dedicated to serving the Church he loved for over 60 years.
Jacques was born in Normandy, France, in 1930 and joined his local choir aged 6, thus beginning a lifelong service to Christ. He briefly spent time in the army though refused promotion due to his strongly held pacifist beliefs. He began training for the Priesthood at the young age of 14 and was eventually ordained in 1958.
After serving in several churches across France Jacques settled in Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvray where he served beyond his retirement at 75 until his death aged 86. Whilst there he began interfaith work with a local Imam, with whom he developed a strong friendship.
In July 2016 Jacques was celebrating a parish mass with a small congregation of nuns and locals. The service was interrupted when a pair of men came in and took those present hostage. Jacques confronted his attackers, denouncing them as Satan, before they murdered him in front of his parishioners. His death sparked international outrage and was condemned by leaders of all faiths. His funeral was held in Rouen Cathedral and was attended by thousands. The Pope asked local churches to display images of the martyred priest and many charitable organisations donated enough funds to train thousands of new priests in his honour.
Jacques Hamel was martyred on this day by religious extremists whilst celebrating Mass in the church he had faithfully served all his life.
A Prayer for Jacques Hamel:
Heavenly Father we give you thanks for your faithful and loving servant Jacques Hamel. We ask that you might fill us with the same diligent and selfless dedication to Your Church as Jacques had and ask that we too may be prepared to give our lives for the cause of Righteousness and Peace. We pray for all those still affected by his death and ask for protection for all those who live under the threat of religious extremism. In your most Holy Name we pray. Amen
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