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Holy Week in Mostaganem

03/05/2005: Algeria

Our Christian community in Mostaganem (Algeria) is very small: there are only sixteen people: thirteen sub-Saharan students and three Marist Brothers. Some were away during this holiday period, but we celebrated Holy Week fervently and simply.
On Holy Thursday, Bishop Alfonso, our local bishop, wanted to come to Mostaganem to celebrate the Lord’s Supper with us. We also took advantage of this occasion to organise a meeting of all the Christians present in the town.
On Good Friday, all the Christians present in Mostaganem went to Arsew (fifty kilometres away) to celebrate the Lord’s Passion. The ceremony was followed by a simple meal for “Ramadan”. All was celebrated in joy and brotherhood.
On Holy Saturday we celebrated the Easter Vigil in our chapel. The community was reduced to seven people. As the young students had to be back in their residence by eight o’clock in the evening, we had to start the ceremonies towards half past four in the afternoon. Thus, we had to proceed with the blessing of the fire under a blazing sun. There is something special about celebrating the triumph of Jesus Christ in an environment in which he is not recognised for who he is. This urges us as Christians to deepen our faith; it commits us to an ever-stronger witness to the Gospel in our life.

On Easter Sunday, I went with one of my confrères to Oran to celebrate the Mass of the Resurrection with the Christian community of this town. The Eucharist was followed by a convivial feast that brought together all the Christians in Oran and some Muslims. In the afternoon, we returned to Mostaganem, happy and grateful for having been able to celebrate the great Christian mysteries in the House of Islam.

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