Loading...
Loading...
Click here if you don’t see subscription options
Catholic News ServiceAugust 09, 2021
Father Olivier Maire, French provincial of the Montfort Fathers, is pictured in an undated photo. Rwandan immigrant Emmanuel Abayisenga, awaiting trial for the arson of the cathedral in Nantes, turned himself into police for killing Father Maire. (CNS photo/courtesy Montfort Missionaries)

SAINT-LAURENT-SUR-SÈVRE, France (CNS) — A Rwandan immigrant awaiting trial for the arson of the cathedral in Nantes turned himself into police for killing the French provincial of the Montfort Missionaries.

Emmanuel Abayisenga, 40, a Catholic, had been released on bail earlier this year for the 2020 arson at Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral in Nantes. Montfort Father Olivier Maire, 60, had offered him housing in Saint-Laurent-sur-Sèvre, south of Nantes.

Media reported police sources said early indications were that Abayisenga had beaten Father Maire to death.

A Rwandan immigrant awaiting trial for the arson of the cathedral in Nantes turned himself into police for killing the French provincial of the Montfort Missionaries.

Father Santino Brembilla, superior general of the Montfort Missionaries, described Father Maire as a “religious, a priest and a missionary of great value, a specialist in Montfort spirituality who accompanied his entire community in coming to a profound understanding of the message of their founder, Louise-Marie Gignion de Montfort,” Vatican News reported.

Archbishop Eric de Moulins-Beaufort of Reims, president of the French bishops’ conference, tweeted: “The murder of Father Maire is a terrible tragedy. He will have lived following Christ until the very end, in the unconditional acceptance of all. While waiting for more complete elements that the investigation will bring, I pray for his family and his religious brothers. I pray for all the people traumatized by this tragedy, for his assassin too, who is at least psychologically adrift, and I assure (Lucon) Bishop (Francois) Jacolin of my fraternal support. May God grant us the grace to serve him always and in all.”

French Sen. Bruno Retailleau sent a tweet paying tribute to Father Maire at the hand of someone he was housing out of charity.

“His death testifies to the kindness of this priest whom I knew well and whose depth of faith I had been able to appreciate. His death is a great loss,” the tweet said.

On July 25, 2020, Abayisenga admitted lighting two fires in the area of a 17th-century organ and a third above an electrical panel in the Cathedral of Sts. Peter and Paul a week earlier. He had been volunteering at the cathedral as a warden and had the keys to the building because he was responsible for locking it up on the day of the fire. He had been in the country since 2012.

Father Maire’s murder provoked criticism of French immigration policies from right-wing politicians, who questioned why Abayisenga was still in the country.

But Father Cédric Burgun, vice dean of the canon law faculty at the Catholic University of Paris, replied to a tweet by Marine Le Pen, president of France's National Rally, saying that the French respect the law.

"This man was under police control, and it was the priest himself who took the risk of welcoming him! Because charity and mercy take risks that some politicians have forgotten," Father Burgun tweeted.

We don’t have comments turned on everywhere anymore. We have recently relaunched the commenting experience at America and are aiming for a more focused commenting experience with better moderation by opening comments on a select number of articles each day.

But we still want your feedback. You can join the conversation about this article with us in social media on Twitter or Facebook, or in one of our Facebook discussion groups for various topics.

Or send us feedback on this article with one of the options below:

We welcome and read all letters to the editor but, due to the volume received, cannot guarantee a response.

In order to be considered for publication, letters should be brief (around 200 words or less) and include the author’s name and geographic location. Letters may be edited for length and clarity.

We open comments only on select articles so that we can provide a focused and well-moderated discussion on interesting topics. If you think this article provides the opportunity for such a discussion, please let us know what you'd like to talk about, or what interesting question you think readers might want to respond to.

If we decide to open comments on this article, we will email you to let you know.

If you have a message for the author, we will do our best to pass it along. Note that if the article is from a wire service such as Catholic News Service, Religion News Service, or the Associated Press, we will not have direct contact information for the author. We cannot guarantee a response from any author.

We welcome any information that will help us improve the factual accuracy of this piece. Thank you.

Please consult our Contact Us page for other options to reach us.

City and state/province, or if outside Canada or the U.S., city and country. 
When you click submit, this article page will reload. You should see a message at the top of the reloaded page confirming that your feedback has been received.

The latest from america

"Five years have passed since I visited this place with my dear brothers Bartholomew and Ieronymos. After all this time, we see that little has changed with regard to the issue of migration."
Pope FrancisDecember 05, 2021
My father shaped my concept of God, and Ignatian prayer brought me closer to my father and Christ.
Pierre ThompsonDecember 05, 2021
A Reflection for the Sunday of the Second Week of Advent
Kerry WeberDecember 05, 2021
A Reflection for the Saturday of the First Week of Advent
Maurice Timothy ReidyDecember 04, 2021