Montreal priest stabbed during mass leaves hospital; suspect to be charged

MONTREAL — A Catholic priest who was stabbed as he was celebrating mass at Montreal’s St. Joseph’s Oratory on Friday is expressing gratitude for the support he’s received from the public.

Rev. Claude Grou was released from hospital Friday night after suffering minor injuries in the attack.

“My health is good and I’m recovering from my emotions,” he said in a statement released by the church.

He thanked the public for their many messages of support, and said he would resume his duties after a few days of rest.

“I pray that St. Joseph’s Oratory will remain a place of welcome, prayer, calm and peace as it has been for over 100 years and I look forward to returning to work,” he said.

The incident began shortly after 8:30 a.m. on Friday when a man with a knife rushed the sanctuary of the landmark church and stabbed 77-year-old Grou, the Oratory’s rector.

A 26-year-old man was arrested at the scene and is expected to appear in court Saturday afternoon to face charges that have yet to be announced, but could range anywhere from assault to attempted murder.

Police have not suggested a motive for the attack, but say there’s no evidence to suggest the suspect was linked to any group.

Oratory spokeswoman Danielle Decelles said Saturday morning that the church’s usual security will be in place for Sunday mass, and police will provide an increased presence in the coming days to ensure worshippers feel safe.

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