By editor - 04 August, 2016
Up to 4,000 mourners who attended the funeral Mass of slain French priest, Fr Jacques Hamel, in Rouen Cathedral were told that his last words were ‘Go away, Satan.’
Archbishop Dominque Lebrun of Rouen was the chief celebrant at the two-hour liturgy in the 12th century cathedral.
He told the congregation that after Fr Hamel’s throat was cut, the elderly priest tried to push his attackers away with his feet, and said, “Go away, Satan.”
Hundreds of priests and bishops filled Rouen cathedral. Muslims were also present in the congregation which had gathered to pay their final respects to the 85-year-old priest, who was brutally killed by his attackers while celebrating morning Mass.
In his homily, Archbishop Lebrun said, “Evil is a mystery. It reaches heights of horror that take us out of the human.”
“Isn’t that what you wanted to say, Jacques, with your last words, when you fell to the ground? After you were struck by the knife, you tried to push away your assailants with your feet and said, ‘Go away, Satan.’ You repeated it, ‘Go away, Satan.’”
The Archbishop continued, “You expressed … your faith in the goodness of humans and that the devil put his claws in.”
Fr Hamel’s sister, Roselyne Hamel, appealed to all, “Let’s learn to live together, let’s be workers for peace.”
The Archbishop of Rouen invited people to return to churches on 15 August, the feast of the Assumption of Mary, to make a statement that “violence will not take over in their hearts.”
Archbishop Lebrun thanked “believers of other religious faiths, in particular the Jewish community and the Muslim community, very affected and already decided to unite for: ‘Never again.’”