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Beatification of Brother Henri Vergès

16/09/2018: General House

The beatification celebration of Brother Henri Vergès will be held on Dec. 8 in Oran, Algeria. On Sept. 1 a meeting was held in Rome to decide the date and the organisational details of the celebration of the beatification of Bishop Pierre Claverie and his 18 companions, including Henri Vergès. The meeting was convened by the postulator of the cause and was attended by the bishops of Algeria and the superiors general, or their representatives, of the eight religious congregations involved in the cause. It was decided that the celebration would take place on Dec. 8, 2018 in Oran, Algeria, in the basilica of the Holy Cross of the diocese of Bishop Pierre and his driver Mohamed.

This decision left in everyone present a feeling of peace and, at the same time, a reinforced conviction that the Church of Algeria was being faithful to what our already blessed brothers and sisters had lived and to the entire church of Algeria along with them.

Father Christian de Chergé wrote in his testament, “I would like my community, my Church, my family, to remember that my life WAS SURRENDERED to God and to this country.” This intention was explicitly shared by Brother Henri who asked for Algerian citizenship as a sign of identification and communion with the country that welcomed him.

The bishops of Algeria wanted to hold a celebration with the flavour of what the Church lives in Algeria, namely humility and simplicity.

Sister Esther affirmed that “we are the Church of Algeria and our mission is to be the Church of Algeria.” Therefore, this celebration is, above all, an event of the Algerian church.

During the audience that the Pope granted to the bishops of Algeria a year ago, he insisted a lot that the celebration be held in the same land where the 19 new Blesseds had lived.

The beatification celebration in Algeria will have a limited number of participants. But to do it in other places like Paris or Assisi would have excluded, in practice, the Algerians and many members of the Church of Algeria.

The beatification ceremony will be presided over by Cardinal Giovanni Angelo Becciu, newly appointed Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, who will at the same time act as the Pope’s special envoy and carry a message.

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Br Antonio Martínez Estaún, Postulator general
 

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