Washington D.C., Aug 9, 2021 / 13:00 pm
The murder of a French priest on Monday was the latest in a number of killings of priests around the world.
On Monday, Fr. Olivier Maire was murdered in Saint-Laurent-sur-Sèvre, a commune in the French province of Vendée. Maire was the provincial superior of the Montfort Missionaries (Company of Mary).
The murder suspect who turned himself in to police, 40-year-old Emmanuel Abayisenga, is a Rwandan man who had also been charged with committing arson at Nantes cathedral in 2020. Abayisenga also met Pope Francis in a 2016 audience at the Vatican. A Nov. 11, 2016 photo first published by the French Catholic newspaper La Croix showed Abayisenga greeting Pope Francis.
The killing of Fr. Olivier Maire also occurred five years after another French priest, Fr. Jacques Hamel, was murdered in a terrorist attack while saying Mass. Fr. Hamel was killed in the town of Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvray in northern France, and the five-year anniversary of his death was recently commemorated on July 26. His attackers in that case were linked with a Syria-based ISIS operative.