On receiving a note from Pope Francis waiving the traditional five-year waiting period, the French diocese of Rouen has begun an official inquiry into the beatification of French priest Jacques Hamel, who was murdered by Islamic terrorists in July earlier this year.
After the completion of the celebration of a mass last week, Rouen's Archbishop Dominique Lebrun made an announcement regarding the reopening of the church of Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvray, where the priest had been killed by Islamic extremists.
Although the established practice calls for a five-year waiting period after the death of a person before a diocese begins the official investigations for the beatification, the rule was waived in honour of the Fr. Jacques Hamel. Other cases of such an exemption include St. Teresa of Calcutta and St. John Paul II, as the Catholic News Agency reports.
According to a statement released by the French Bishops Conference, Archbishop Lebrun had been informed by the Vatican's Congregation for the Causes of Saints that Pope Francis has dispensed of the five year waiting period usually required before starting the official investigation of the beatification.
As an act of gratitude to the Pope for this exceptional gesture, Archbishop Lebrun began the investigation proceedings on the same day that Fr. Hamel's church was reopened. The reopening included a special Mass conducted by the archbishop.
It started off with a procession from the parish rectory to the church's front doors. There were also other elements involved in the ceremony, such as the reading of scriptures, special prayers, and Mass. The central themes of these activities were forgiveness, reconciliation, and peace. The particular rite used for the Mass was the prayer that is said in cases of desecration and violation of any kind.