HE METROPOLITAN JEROME OSJV OF SELSEY

A PASTORAL LETTER

Carissimi
The awful news of the murder of Abbé Jacques Hamel whilst offering holy Mass in the
church of St Steven in Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvray near Rouen, shocked the world yesterday.
Suddenly the comprehension of the contemporary martyrdom of brothers and sisters in Christ
elsewhere became a very present reality much nearer to home then has previously been
appreciable for many of us here in Europe. Calls for heightened security around our church
buildings however, will not ultimately impede the challenge now presenting to us; for the
Church is made of “living stones1” and no amount of physical security will stem the tide of
the darkness trying to envelope us.
Let us not bear witness to outrage nor fear by allowing the powers of darkness to overrun our
minds and our hearts, but instead let us determine individually and collectively to be more
courageous ourselves to become "light to the world2" radiating the love of God in Christ3 to
all around us. Let us seek in our personal lives, to conform ourselves more positively to God's
law of love4, fulfilling more concretely our love for Him and for others 5, that we may dispel
the darkness in our world by personal holiness and sacrificial acts of love in testimony6 to
"the Light of the World7". That others observing our Christian witness in our communities
may not feel themselves threatened by the exercise of our religion, but be moved to come to
know that they too are loved by God and that "God is love8".
Let us pray for the people of France and the peoples of Europe. Let us pray for our own
communities and all the individuals within them of whatever creed, race, political persuasion
or lifestyle. Let us demonstrate through our lives the all-embracing love of God for all
people, even those who desire ill upon us9. Let us open our churches and communities and
secure them with love, that any threat of desecration therein will be overcome by His Light10
and those imprisoned by darkness may be enlightened by Him through our witness to Him,
for "… we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that
dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.11". Oremus pro invicem.
I.X.
1

1 Peter 2:4-5
Matthew 5:14-16
3
Romans 8:39
4
Matthew 22:37-40
5
Romans 13:8-10
6
Ephesians 5:2
7
John 8:12
8
1 John 4:8
9
Matthew 5:44
10
John 1:4
11
1 John 4:16
2

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