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News from Mostaganem

04/05/2006: Algeria

The Christian community of Mostaganem (Algeria) which includes three brothers and a dozen Christian sub-Saharan students celebrated Holy Week very attentively despite their lack of numbers. For the Algerian population, Holy Week passed by unnoticed. However, the small community of believers were able to have all the celebrations of this liturgical time in the small chapel of the Marist house. These celebrations were very well prepared by the students themselves (Catholics and Protestants), with the help of the brothers.

The celebration of Palm Sunday had to be held on the Thursday afternoon beforehand so that the Christian students could participate, for Sunday is a ordinary work day in Algeria, a country of Moslem culture where the weekend corresponds to Thursday and Friday.

For Holy Thursday and the Paschal Vigil, they could count on the presence of Father Philipe Moyson, who lives fifty kilometres from Mostaganem but who came to Mostaganem for these two days. On Good Friday, Bishop Alphonse, the Bishop of Oran, the diocese to which Mostaganem belongs, presided at the celebrations. On Easter Sunday, the small community of Mostaganem went to Oran to join the Christian community of this city.

Brother Arturo Chávez said in his news that the Marist community is going to consolidate little by little its project of insertion in this religious and cultural milieu. He declared that the brothers had been well accepted by their neighbours and, in a general manner, by those who know them.

The three brothers who currently form the community (Chema, Jean and Arturo) are going very well and are very encouraged. The fourth brother who participated with them in the project is Alex and he is presently studying Arab literature in Beirut.

In March, they received a visit from Brother Maurice Goutagny, delegate of the Brother Provincial of the Province of L’Hermitage to which this community belongs. As well as his presence, he brought them good news and encouraged them to continue passionately and faithfully to provide this Marist presence in Algeria. The news that encouraged them the most was the intention of the Superiors to found a second community in Algeria, by sending three more brothers next year.

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