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To Share the life and mission

14/10/2007: Algeria

The Marist presence in Algeria dates from 1891. It continues up to the brutal murder of Bro. Henri Vergès in 1994. We returned to Algeria on 8 September 2002. After a period of discernment accompanied by the Superiors, we decided to settle in Mostaganem, a city of some 150,000 inhabitants on the Mediterranean. It is the capital of Wilaya Province. It is traditional farming country and has a small seaport and university.

Our hope is to incarnate Marist life and mission in Algeria and to share the life and mission of the Church in this country. To do that we try to know the history and culture of the country better, to get closer to the people of Algeria. Also, we are deepening our knowledge of Islam so as to give better service and establish a cultural and religious dialogue.

Following our Marist charism, we are looking for ways to welcome and accompany Algerian children and youth, especially the poorest. In Marys manner our presence is simple, discreet and almost hidden.

We have centered our work on SERVICE and WELCOME and the search for springboards for meeting with young Algerians. We also have a very important task: to welcome and accompany the sub-Saharan Christian students who have a small scholarship to study at Mostaganem University.

Our main activities are: the chaplaincy for the sub-Saharan Christian students, Spanish courses at the Cervantès Institute and at the house, Informatics courses and school support for the French.

On the matter of Islamo-Christian dialogue, we follow especially the dialogue of life in our simple and daily relations with our neighbors and friends. But we also have had more formal occasions, especially with the Zaouia Alaouia of Mostaganem.

The chaplaincy for the sub-Saharan Christian students has become very important. They have a great need for accompaniment and support because they are far from their country and culture and feel lost as Christians in a crushing Muslim majority. A Brother is in charge of accompanying them. Once a week there is a meeting to offer them a human and Christian formation and to share the Faith by celebrating the Eucharist or having a celebration of the Word. We celebrate important anniversaries and celebrations during the year. During the summer we organize formation and prayer sessions.

We feel co-responsible for the mission of the local Church. We sit on different commissions or groups of pastoral animation of the diocese (Bishops Council, Pastoral Council, etc.).

For this year just beginning weve taken on the project of organizing a small library in the house, with work space for the young. We hope to be able to begin soon.

The big news for this year is the foundation of a second community in Algeria. It has already been established in Oran. In the libraries the Brothers will be busy serving the young and giving courses in English, French, and Spanish. The new community is made up of BB. Michael Sexton, Jean-Louis Rognon and Germán Chaves. In the Mostaganem community we have BB. Xema Rius, Jean-Louis Bosland and Arturo Chaves.

And of course, we continue to consider Bro. Alex, in Mataró for medical care, as a member of our Algerian community. We recommend him to your prayers.

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