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“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

UK faith leaders join in prayer for murdered priest, Fr Jacques Hamel

Faith leaders across the UK and Ireland have joined in prayer for Fr Jacques Hamel, the French priest who was brutally murdered yesterday.

‘Together, as faith leaders our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and all those affected by the murderous assault that took place today at the Church of Saint-Etienne–du-Rouvray in France,’ Cardinal Vincent Nichols said in a joint statement, released yesterday, along with other faith leaders.

‘We are deeply saddened and shocked by the brutal murder of Fr Jacques Hamel. To commit murder at a place where people gather in peace to worship adds another layer of depravity to the violence that we have witnessed over the past weeks. We pray for the courage to respond to all evil with truth, justice, and reconciliation.’

The statement was also signed by Sheikh Mohammed Al-Hilli,
 Director of Noor Trust; Imam Qari Muhammad Asim, 
Head Imam of Mecca Mosque; Sheikh Babikir; Sheikh Ibrahim Mogra, 
Co-Chair of Christian-Muslim Forum; Imam Sayed Ali Abbas Razawi, 
Director-General of Scottish Ahlul Bayt Society; Moulana Muhammad Shahid Raza, 
Chair of MINAB; and Moulana Sayed Ali Raza Rizvi,
 Senior Imam & President Emeritus of Shia Ulama Council Europe.

Meanwhile, the Primate of All Ireland and Archbishop of Armagh, Eamon Martin, has written to the Archbishop of Rouen, Dominique Lebrun, to express his shock, to offer condolences and to express the prayerful solidarity of the Church in Ireland following the horrific incident in the church of Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray and the violent death of Fr Jacques Hamel.

Archbishop Martin expressed his closeness in prayer to all those affected by yesterday’s incident adding that it is profoundly disturbing that people gathered in a church for worship and prayer should be targeted in this way.

The archbishop said he was deeply moved by Archbishop Lebrun’s own words when he said that the “only weapons that we can take up” as Catholics “are prayer and fraternity among peoples” and his call for people “not to give up in the face of violence but to become apostles of the civilisation of love”.

Archbishop Martin has assured Archbishop Lebrun of his prayers for the repose of the soul of Fr Jacques, for those injured in the attack, and for the community of Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray.