FRANCE – Opening of the Process of Beatification of Fr Jacques Hamel
Pope Francis decided to dispense with the usual five-year delay after the death of a baptized person to open the process of Beatification of Father Jacques Hamel. The announcement was made by Mgr Dominque Lebrun on 2October 2016 during a Mass to mark the reopening of the Saint Etienne du Rouvray church.
The first audience of the process for the beatification of Father Jacques Hamel was held on Saturday 20 May in the Chapel of Aubigne of the Archbishop of Rouen, France. The meeting, which lasted an hour, was organized by the Postulator, Father Paul Vigouroux who officially asked for the Archbishop’s approval of the opening of the process in view of the recognition of the martyrdom of Father Hamel. Around fifty people – families, witnesses of the murder, parishioners and Muslim friends of Saint Etienne du Rouvray – gathered under the presidency of the Archbishop, Monsignor Dominique Lebrun.
In the forthcoming months the tribunal that was set up consisting of a Delegate Judge, a Promoter of Justice and three clerks will interview 69 witnesses.
Mgr Lebrun stressed the spiritual reach of this event, reminding those present that if Fr Hamel’s “martyrdom” is recognized, the Beatification does not require another ‘miracle’.
Father Jacques Hamel was murdered, while celebrating Mass, by Muslim terrorists on July 26, 2016 in his church at Saint Etienne du Rouvray, on the outskirts of Rouen.
Pope Francis described him, during the Mass at Saint Martha’s last September 14, as a “good, gentle, fraternal man who always sought to make peace” and he stated that Fr Hamel was a “martyr.”
Fr Jacques Hamel’s Breviary was deposited in Saint Bartholomew’s Basilica – the Basilica of New Martyrs – in Rome by Mgr Dominque Lebrun on 15 September 2016.