“Thank you for the parishes, movements and services and our diocese of Port-Victoria, the Church of God, which, with its dynamism, its limits and its weaknesses, gives birth to faith in Jesus. The Church of Nou Mama. A mother can have her faults but mother remains a mother!” he said in his homily published Wednesday, December 9 on the website of his native Diocese of Port Louis, Mauritius.
He went on to give thanks to God for those “who have and who continue to accompany the community and thus help it to get to know Jesus better in order to love him and live his life better,” including members of the Clergy, Religious men and women, Catechists, Lay consecrated and Parish and Diocesan staff.
“Thank you for the children and young people who, by their dynamism, their generosity and their creativity, evangelize us,” Bishop Harel said, adding, “Thank you for seminarians in formation who are preparing with generosity to put themselves at the service of Jesus the Good Shepherd.”
Addressing those who gathered at the Immaculate Conception Cathedral of Port-Victoria Diocese, the 70-year-old Prelate further thanked God for all the Bishops who have served before him, particularly his predecessor, Bishop Wiehe.
He acknowledged the 19 years that Bishop Wiehe “put himself entirely at the service of the Diocese of Port Victoria and the Seychellois people,” saying Bishop Wiehe “put his talents, his sense of organization, his vision, his heart, to consolidate the implantation of the Church, to open up new perspectives and to sow the Gospel.”
“Thank you, (Bishop) Denis, for your fraternal welcome and for passing the torch to me with such delicacy and fraternity,” Bishop Harel said and added, “A pastor does not take retirement! We wish you to live differently, but with as much joy, this passion for the Gospel which dwells in you.”
In his homily, Bishop Harel further noted, “The Church cannot be withdrawn into itself. It is strengthened in its mission by communion with the successor of Peter but also with the other particular churches, especially the churches of the Episcopal Conference of the Indian Ocean (CEDOI).”
“That is why I am very touched by the presence of Cardinal Maurice Piat, President of CEDOI among us this morning. Your presence manifests and strengthens this communion between us and encourages us,” Bishop Harel said, adding, “Thank you Maurice for this sign of friendship which touches me a lot.”
Until his appointment as the Bishop of Port Victoria in Seychelles, Bishop Harel was the Vicar Apostolic of Rodrigues, which is part of his native country, Mauritius.
“Brothers and sisters of the Seychelles, after 18 years of Episcopate in the service of the Apostolic Vicariate of Rodrigues, which were fascinating years - I would like once again to reiterate all my affection and gratitude to my Rodrigues brothers and sisters,” Bishop Harel said.