On the 8th of December, at 10h, we celebrated the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of Mary in the basilica of St-Anne in Jerusalem. Many invitations were sent out. It is a ‘Consular Mass’ at which the General Consul of France participates, with members of the Consulate. But as the Consul was absent, he was represented by Mr. Remy Bouallegue, his ‘Adjoint’. Though it was raining, a good crowd came for the celebration: lay-people, Sisters, staff and students of the Salesian Institute and many more and about 20 priests concelebrating. Josef Buholzer, the superior of the community, was the main-celebrant, assisted by Mgr Michael Fitzgerald and Benoît Bernard, the newly arrived Rector of the Basilica. Bosco Ufoyuru, our newly ordained deacon, proclaimed the gospel.
Frans Bouwen gave an excellent and well appreciated homily: this year’s celebration is very special as we, White Fathers, celebrate the 150th jubilee of our foundation in Algiers. On this day we also celebrate the 140 years of our presence in Jerusalem. Frans reminded us also that on this same day, in Oran, takes place the solemn beatification of Mgr Claverie and the 18 companions, among them our 4 confreres killed in Tizi Ouzou. The congregation listened attentively to this very interesting homily. Our students animated the liturgy with some well-known hymns and some African songs added a special flavor to this celebration. – It was a beautiful celebration.
After the mass there was a reception to which all were invited. It was an occasion to mix with people and to chat with them. Then we went down to refectory for a festive dinner: Due to the renovation work still going on in the building, we could only invite the ‘Consul Adjoint’ and other members of the French Consulate. The Sisters had prepared an excellent meal which helped us to continue the celebration in a more relaxed way.
Concluding the celebration some of the elder members of the community invited the ‘Consul Adjoint’, Mr. Bouallegue, to coffee and a friendly conversation in a smaller circle in the community hall.
To continue the celebration of our jubilee we still have foreseen a celebration with the Melkite clergy at St Anne’s (no date yet fixed) and also a public lecture, on the 7th of March 2019 in English, for the staff and students of the Salesian Ratisbonne Institute.
Josef Buholzer, M.Afr.
The beautiful photos below were taken by Father Andreas Fritsch (FSO – Spiritual Family of the Work) who lives in Sainte-Anne.