Father Jacques Hamel (30 November 1930 – 26 July 2016) was a French Catholic priest in the parish of Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvray. Hamel was killed by two men pledging allegiance to the Islamic State while he said mass in his church on 26 July 2016.
Jacques Hamel was born on 30 November 1930 in Darnétal, France.
Hamel was ordained as a priest in 1958. He served as a vicar at the St.-Antoine church in Le Petit-Quevilly in 1958, a vicar at the Notre-Dame de Lourdes church in Sotteville-lès-Rouen in 1967, a parish priest at Saint-Pierre-lès-Elbeuf in 1975, and a parish priest in Cléon in 1988. He joined the church at Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvray in 2000 and assumed his role as the parish’s auxiliary priest in 2005.
With Mohammed Karabila, the president of Normandy's regional council of Muslims, Hamel worked on an interfaith committee.
Death and legacy
Hamel"s throat was slit by two men pledging allegiance to the Islamic State while he was saying mass in his parish in Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvray on 26 July 2016. The very same day, Italian politician Roberto Maroni called on the Pope to "immediately proclaim him St Jacques."
Hamel, who had been retired for nearly a decade, had lived in northern France all his life having been born there in 1930.
Ordained in 1958, Hamel spent more than 30 years at St-Étienne, and celebrated 50 years in the clergy in 2008.
He continued to officiate regularly as auxiliary at the church in St Étienne-du-Rouvray as well as in neighbouring Elbeuf, stepping in for the parish's regular priest, Father Auguste Moanda-Phuati, when the latter was unavailable.
According to the Archdiocese of Rouen, Hamel requested after officially retiring at 75 that he remain in the parish and continue to help when necessary. "This man was a good man," said the president of the regional council, Hervé Morin.
An 84-year-old priest was killed and four other people taken hostage by two armed men who stormed his church in a suburb of Rouen in northern France.
The two attackers, who said they were from the so-called Islamic State (IS), slit Fr Jacques Hamel's throat during a morning Mass, officials say.
Police surrounded the church and shot dead both hostage-takers.
Source: reuters.com, dailymail.co.uk, bbc.co.uk