More than two months after the spectacular attack jihadist, during which the elderly priest Jacques Hamel had perished slain, the church of Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvray, in the suburbs of Rouen, reopens its doors on Sunday during a ceremony that will be emotionally charged, and symbols.
For the catholic Church, the desecration of a place of worship must be “repaired”. A fortiori when it is a murder.
It is for this reason that a penitential rite of reparation is held Sunday after-noon, followed by a mass, celebrated by Archbishop Dominique Lebrun, archbishop of Rouen.
“The rite is to +wash+ the church in the sprinkling of holy water”, explained to AFP the archbishop, who had celebrated the 2 of August, in the cathedral of Rouen, the mass for the funeral of a priest assassinated.
The rite will also seek to “repair” the desecration committed against objects of worship by the two jihadists, Adel Kermiche, a Stéphanais, and Abdel-Malik, Petitjean, who came from Savoy.
The two men are indeed hard on the wooden altar by him, carrying dozens of knife stabs.
They have also pulled out a cross of procession sealed in the wall, flipped the large Easter candle and snatched the rosary out of the hands of Virgin of Fatima. The town has a large Portuguese community.
After the penitential rite, Monsignor Lebrun, surrounded including the parish priest of Augustus Moanda-Phuati, the vicar general of the diocese Philippe Maheut and the other priests of the neighbouring parishes, to celebrate holy mass.
Before entering the church he led, from 15: 30 a procession of about 500 meters which will begin at the door of the rectory, not far from the Hotel de Ville.
mayor Hubert Wulfranc (PCF) and the archbishop were to take the floor before the ceremony.
All the inhabitants who have failed to enter into the church will follow the ceremony outside on a giant screen.
- Theatre of horror -
many muslims should join the crowd, outside the church. A call in this direction has been launched at the Friday prayers in the mosque stéphanaise Yahya, which is located on the heights of the city, right next to the other church of the city, Sainte-Therese.
Believers of all faiths or non-believers, all Stéphanais have been strongly marked by the drama. So much so that the good agreement exists between the different communities.
The small church of St. Etienne, dating from the Sixteenth century, will be kept closed to the faithful exactly 68 days, after having been the theatre of horror for about an hour, in the morning of the 26th of July.
Around 9: 30 in the morning, father Jacques Hamel, 85 years old, had just completed his mass to only five people, three nuns and a couple of octogenarians, when arose the two jihadists of 19 years in full battle dress. Their only weapons real were knives.
The father will be slain, the man of the couple, Guy Coponet, will be stabbed, left for dead, but survive miraculously. The four women spared and taken hostage, will remain traumatized for life by this attack, as brutal as unique, perpetrated in the name of the islamic State.
during The first few days, it will not enter in the church and the scientific police. A very large security perimeter will be curious and media remote. Then the church will be visible to the public but will remain long weeks surrounded by metal barriers in front of which accumulate bouquets of flowers, candles and messages of sympathy for the priest disappeared, which was unanimously appreciated for his simplicity and his tireless dedication.
The attack of Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray is the latest suffered by France, the fifth since January 2015. It occurred just twelve days after that of Nice, where a jihadi at the wheel of a truck had killed 86 people.