I am republishing here the letter of the bishops of Algeria announcing the beatification of our 4 confreres and their companions in misfortune. I published it last week, but it has “mysteriously” disappeared.
Dear brothers and sisters,
We are pleased to announce the very close Beatification of our 19 martyred brothers and sisters. It will take place on Saturday, the 8th of December 2018, on the solemnity of one of the great feasts of Mary, at the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Santa Cruz in Oran, and will be presided over by Cardinal Becciu, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints.
The time is short to prepare ourselves to welcome in the Church, with all our friends, the grace of this gift from Heaven.
Concerning the place of the celebration, the decision is the result of a long discernment. The choice of a celebration outside Algeria had appeared, for a time, as a good solution, because the “beatified to be” belong to the universal Church and to the world. Slowly it came to our attention, your brother bishops, that this celebration could not take place outside Algeria, the country where they had given their lives. Pope Francis, a year ago, encouraged us to do so. The Algerian friends we consulted also made this clear to us. And the General Superiors of the 8 religious congregations, gathered with us in Rome recently, were also moving in this direction.
The Minister of Religious Affairs fully understood the significance of this beatification for our Church and for the country. In addition, the authorization of the country’s authorities to organize the celebration in the country confirmed this choice. We also understood that it was preferable for the celebration to take place before the country’s official entry into the presidential campaign. Cardinal Becciu’s availability imposed the 8th of December. But we welcome it as a grace.
A celebration at the Sanctuary of Santa Cruz is a choice for a humble ceremony that is in keeping with the dimension of our Church so that it is as much as possible in conformity with the vocation of our Church, of which our Blessed ones become a beautiful icon. It will involve as much as possible those Algerian friends of our martyrs who wish to do so. In the prayer of thanksgiving, we shall include all those in the country who, like them, have given their lives in fidelity to their faith, conscience and country.
Under these conditions, the number of participants at the ceremony will be limited. But in the days and weeks to come, both within and outside the country, we will have the opportunity to organize Masses of thanksgiving. The ceremony will be filmed, perhaps, we hope, live. A team is in place around Bishop Jean-Paul Vesco for the successful practical realization of the celebration.
Together let us prepare our hearts for the celebration. We remain in communion with you. Your brother bishops.
+ Paul Desfarges, Archbishop of Algiers
+ Jean-Paul Vesco, Bishop of Oran
+ John Mac William, Bishop of Laghouat-Ghardaia
Fr. Jean-Marie Jehl, Administrator of Constantine & Hippone