More people are now attending Mass despite the fear that persists after an 84-year-old Catholic priest, Father Jacques Hamel, was killed in Normandy, France, allegedly by the Islamic State terror group, said the archbishop of the priest’s diocese.
“There is fear, without a doubt,” Monsignor Dominique Lebrun, the archbishop of Rouen, said, according to Rome Reports.
Lebrun continued, “A week ago, I met with the vicars of the diocese and everyone told me that some people phoned asking if there was Mass, if they could go, if there’s a risk. At the same time, more people are at Mass.”
The archbishop explained that while there is fear “on a psychological level,” there is also strength “on a deep level in the soul.”
Pope Francis celebrated a Mass in the Vatican Wednesday in honor of Fr. Hamel, who was beheaded in his parish while celebrating Mass on July 26.
Two men armed with knives stormed the church and held the priest and several others, including two nuns, hostage before killing Fr. Hamel. Islamic State, which operates from Iraq and Syria and is also known as ISIS, ISIL, or Daesh, claimed responsibility for the attack by releasing a video purporting to show the two teenagers pledging their allegiance to the jihadists. The two were killed by the police after the attack.
“Today there are Christians murdered, tortured, imprisoned, slaughtered because they do not deny Jesus Christ,” Francis said during the Mass, adding that Hamel is a martyr, and insisting that all such men of God who have been killed for their faith have been “beatified,” or declared to be in Heaven.
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SOURCE: The Christian Post