Tunis, 12 December 2018. Missionaries of Africa, Fathers and Sisters, from all over the world, landed in Tunis where they gather in the name of all the others for a return to the source. For the occasion, and the place is particularly suitable, we will speak almost exclusively of White Fathers and White Sisters, names that very quickly became established, back in those days. On Sunday 16th, we will proclaim the official opening of the Jubilee Year, even though many celebrations have already taken place in Africa and elsewhere. 150 years ago, the first novitiate of the White Fathers was begun, and a year later, the first White Sisters were working in Algiers.
Some have taken up residence at the Diocesan House in Tunis, while others are staying at “La Marsa”, in the property that used to belong to the White Fathers until only a few years ago.
At 6:30 p.m., we gathered in the parish chapel to celebrate the Eucharist for the first time, presided over by one of the bishops of Algeria, Bishop John McWilliam, M.Afr. who was the provincial of the Maghreb when he was called to succeed Claude Raulx, M.Afr., almost two years ago, as Bishop of Laghouat-Ghardaïa. After Mass, the “pilgrims” met or reconnected with one another and shared a delicious meal.
We note the absence of Sister Carmen Sammut, Superior General of the Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of Africa, who was called urgently to the bedside of her very sick mother. We will keep her and her family in our prayers during our pilgrimage.
Below are some pictures of this first meeting.
Philippe Docq, M.Afr.