The figure of our Father, Saint Augustine, has become a bridge of union between both sides of the Mediterranean Sea and the great master continues to speak to us through celebrations, conferences interreligious encounters, etc...
The figure of our Father, Saint Augustine, has become a bridge of union between both sides of the Mediterranean Sea and the great master continues to speak to us through celebrations, conferences interreligious encounters, etc. Not only for us, Augustinians, is the figure of our Father a central part of the life of the Order, but also for the Algerians who know him and who consider him a brother and an irreplaceable figure in their own country. In the land of Algeria, Augustine’s birthplace, and in Hippo itself, we celebrated on Friday and Saturday, 2-3 May, different events in the ancient basilica of Saint Augustine of Hippo, which commemorated the one hundred years since the blessing of the ancient church as a basilica. The celebration of the Eucharist on Friday, presided by Cardinal Tauran, the President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and the delegate of the Pope for this celebration, was the most important and central moment of the two-day celebration. In the Mass there participated the Cardinal of Marseilles, the Papal Nuncio to Algeria, and eight bishops from the country and some who came from other places, along with a number of men and women religious. There were fifty concelebrants and a large congregation.
The Augustinian community, which has the care of the basilica and its activities, had also the presence of the Prior General of the Order, Fr. Alejandro Moral Antón, and the Assistant General for Africa, Fr. Edward Daleng, for this celebration. Both Fr. Ambroise and Fr. Joseph made sure that all the events were well organized and handled with care. The Mass was celebrated musically with an enthusiastic group of university students, many of whom were from Burundi.
There was a conference and discussion on the topic of interreligious dialogue on the evening of May 2, in which various Muslim imams participated. The dialogue was open, sincere, peaceful, and thus impacted all with a sense of a desire of journeying together. On Saturday, May 3, there was a guided visit to the archeological site of ancient Hippo and in the evening there was a concert of the basilica’s organ, which recently was completely restored in France. We invite the brothers of the Order, who can, to visit this very Augustinian site where the life of our Father is made present across time and where his works come to life. Thanks to Fr. Ambroise and Fr. Joseph for their dedication and ministry in this place.
Fr. Alejandro Moral Antón, OSA, Prior General