RIP Fr. Steven Labat - Saintly, Young French Canadian-Lebanese Priest, and Singer, who was Related to Omar Sharif, Dies after a Fall in Egypt
Father Steven Labat, 32, lost his life in an accidental fall during a retreat in the Sinai mountains in Egypt. A priest of the diocese of Paris, he had been ordained in June 2021 and was on a mission in Cairo.
He was found dead on Saturday May 7 in the Sinai mountains in Egypt, where he had retired. Aged only 32, the priest of Egyptian-Canadian origin had been sent for his first year of priesthood to a parish of the Roman Catholic Church in Cairo.
Steven, born in 1990 in Montreal (Canada) from a Lebanese family living in Egypt for many years, was a priest of the Emmanuel Community, incardinated in the diocese of Paris, since June 26, 2021.
He made a propaedeutic year at St Joseph in Namur from 2014 to 2015, then studied for 2 years at the seminary in Brussels, before coming to continue his seminary in Paris. During his diaconal year, Steven was in service with the parish of St Joseph des Nations.
He was ordained a priest on June 26 at St Sulpice, in Paris, and had been sent for a year of study in Cairo, in order to familiarize himself with his rite of origin (the Melkite rite). Father Steven Labat had been ordained less than a year ago, on June 26, 2021. He was incardinated in the diocese of Paris and a member of the Emmanuel Community. He had also been entrusted with missions with young people and prisoners.
The young priest was to return to France at the start of the school year, to the parish of Emmanuel Saint-Nicolas-Des-Champs where he had spent a few years during his seminary. Father Christophe Aubanelle, parish priest, Pioneer of the Emmanuel Community in Egypt “Father Steven was our first Egyptian priest after twenty years of presence in the country, is saddened by Father Dominique Janthial, his ordination godfather and delegate responsible for clerics for the Emmanuel Community for Europe and the Middle-East. Trained as a seminarian at the Saint-Joseph de Namur house and then in the diocese of Paris , Father Steven had participated in the founding of the Emmanuel community in Egypt, after having been particularly touched by grace during a retreat in 2007 during his teenage years.
“He had a strong tropism for the poor, even though he came from a very wealthy family, being from actor Omar Sharif's family. He was full of enthusiasm and he also impressed a lot of people with his extraordinary voice. I have been receiving torrents of messages since the announcement of his death. It's a disaster in the eyes of the world, but God knows what he's doing, ” said Father Janthial.
“We are in hope because we know that he is a saint ,” says Samer Hanna in turn. He succeeded in attracting many young men to the Emmanuel prayer group, which is not easy here. Perhaps it will have aroused vocations! »A few days before his ordination, Father Steven himself invited in a video from the diocese of Paris to pray “so that vocations are born, so that young people can hear the voice of God. »
An artist and singer priest
The reactions of priests and faithful have multiplied since the announcement of his death.
The former Archbishop of Paris, Mgr Michel Aupetit , the one who ordained him to the priesthood, remembered him on Twitter on Monday morning.
The Apostolic Vicar of the Latin rite in Egypt, Msgr. Claudio Loratti, released that he had an "active and fruitful presence in the Latin diocese in Egypt". While adding: "Our consolation is that you are in the arms of the Heavenly Father, pray for us, Priest of the Most High God".
The Emmanuel Community invites "to recommend Steven to the Holy Family, patroness of Egypt, as well as his parents Carole and Reda, his sister Pamela and his brother Eric and the whole Community of Emmanuel there. »
"Enter into the joy of your master whom you have served so well ", wrote several people who knew him. In particular Father Jean-Marie Luc Brun, brother of the Saint Jean community who welcomed him as an actor in the "Révélateur" troupe which he founded a few years ago, producing musicals on inspiring Christian characters. In August 2020, Father Stefan Labat, at the time a seminarian, played in the musical about Saint Thérèse of Lisieux . “He was a real artist, describes Father Janthial. Barely a month ago, he could still be seen singing a Melkite song in a large black cassock. Many people were struck by his voice. The parish priest of Saint-Nicolas-Des-Champs also remembers his talents as a singer placed at the service of Christ. Sources: Famille Chrétienne and https://emmanuel.info/mort-du-pere-steven-labat/