VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis honored the French priest who was killed by Islamic extremists while celebrating Mass, calling him a martyr Wednesday and urging all people of faith to have the courage to denounce such killings as “satanic.”

Francis celebrated a morning Mass in memory of the Rev. Jacques Hamel, whose throat was slit July 26 in his Normandy church. Police killed the assailants, and the Islamic State claimed responsibility.

Hamel’s relatives, members of his Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray parish and the Rouen bishop attended the intimate Mass in Francis’ hotel chapel. In his homily, Francis lamented the persecution of Christians today and denounced Hamel’s slaying as the “satanic thread of persecution.”

Francis recalled that before being killed, Hamel cried out to his killers: “Satan, get out!”

“This example of courage, and the martrydom of one’s own life, to give everything of oneself to help others, to make brotherhood among others, helps all of us to go forward without fear,” Francis said.

He said Hamel was a martyr to whom all people of faith should pray for peace “and also the courage to tell the truth: killing in the name of God is satanic.”