MONTREAL – Father Claude Grou, 77, was stabbed while he said Mass at St. Joseph’s Oratory in Montreal.
“I saw this man coming quickly and taking his knife out and going straight for Père Grou,” Adèle Plamondon told CBC news. She was one of about sixty people attending Mass that morning.
The incident occurred while the Catholic television network Sel+Lumiere TV live-streamed the Mass. The network airs the Mass daily, and the footage of the stabbing was quickly removed from their website.
In the video, a man in a dark coat and baseball cap pulls out a knife and walks up to the altar. The footage showed the man running up the steps of the altar towards the priest.
Father Grou attempted to escape the attacker, but the suspect pushed the priest to the ground and stabbed him. Three men in the congregation rushed the suspect and restrained him.
Police say that the man suspected of the stabbing incident is well known to them. Because the knife used by the attacker broke during the attack, Father Grou only sustained minor injuries to his upper body.
“What a horrible attack at Saint Joseph’s Oratory in Montreal this morning,” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted. “Father Claude Grou, Canadians are thinking of you and wishing you a swift recovery.”
Father Grou was released from the hospital later that day.
“I’m not afraid to go back to work,” he told CTV Montreal. “The oratory will remain a place where people can be welcomed in a place of prayer and a place of calm and a place of peace, even if there are some moments like that.”
Father Grou has been at the St. Joseph’s Oratory for more than twenty years. The Oratory is the largest shrine in the world dedicated to Saint Joseph, and welcomes millions of pilgrims every year.