Pope Francis will likely declare the French priest who was slain by Islamic terrorists in July to be a saint.
ChristianToday.com reports that 84-year-old Father Jacquies Hamel was murdered by the terrorists on July 26 while he led Mass in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray. Hamel had served as the parish’s priest for decades.
His last words before being killed by the terrorists were reportedly, “Go away, Satan!”
In a recent sermon, Pope Francis praised Hamel’s faith.
“Father Jacques Hamel has been slaughtered in the Cross, just as he celebrated the sacrifice of the Cross of Christ. A good man, meek, a brother, who was always trying to make peace, was assassinated as if it were a criminal,” the Pope said.
The Pope went on to speak of the persecution Christians face around the world:
“Today there are Christians murdered, tortured, imprisoned, slaughtered because they do not deny Jesus Christ. In this story, we come to our Père Jacques: he is part of this chain of martyrs. Christians who today suffer - either in prison or the death or torture - not to deny Jesus Christ, they show precisely the cruelty of this persecution."
The Pope himself has been declared the number one target of Islamic terrorist group ISIS.
Even though a person must have performed a miracle to be called a saint in the Roman Catholic Church, there are exceptions for those who were martyred for their faith.
Archbishop of Rouen, Dominique Lebrun, also praised Hamel’s faith and advocated for his canonization:
"The death of Father Jacques Hamel is the ultimate testimony of his faith in Jesus, he affirmed to the end. The holiness of recognition procedure... can not begin until five years after the death of the person. Formally, it is the bishop of the person's place of death to initiate the procedure. There is a local phase with a careful survey of the life and death of the person. Then the case is sent to Rome where [it is] studied before the Pope's decision."
Photo courtesy: World Watch Monitor
Publication date: September 14, 2016