Advertisement

French-Born Bishop-Elect for Algeria’s Constantine Diocese Hopes for Hospitality

Monsignor Nicolas Lhernould, the newly appointed Bishop for the diocese of Constantine in Algeria

The newly appointed Bishop for the diocese of Constantine in Algeria, French-born Monsignor Nicolas Lhernould has expressed hope for being accorded the warm welcome of hospitality by the people of God in his new jurisdiction soon after the Holy Father’s decision was made public Monday, December 9.

“I am happy to meet brothers and sisters that I already know for some and others that I will discover when I get there and especially to let myself be welcomed in a country that I do not yet know but which is very close to Tunisia,” Mons. Lhernould told France-based Catholic Radio RCF in an interview Monday.

“I believe that the first grace that we live here in Maghreb countries is letting ourselves be welcomed. Hospitality is a very strong value in our countries and a particular grace for us pastors,” the 44-year-old Bishop-elect who has been serving as Vicar General of Tunisia’s Tunis Archdiocese added.

In Constantine, Mons. Lhernould, ordained a priest in May 2004 for Tunis Archdiocese, will be succeeding Archbishop Paul Desfarges who was transferred to the Archdiocese of Algiers in December 2016.

With minority Catholic presence in a predominantly Muslim region, the historically and symbolically important diocese of Constantine has six parishes, some ten priests serving a total of about 1,500 faithful.

Advertisement

Speaking in reference to the wider region of North Africa, the Bishop-elect said, “the Catholic faith has existed here for centuries. We are one of the oldest churches in the world. There have been Christians here since the 2nd century.”

He added, “It is a very family Church, very close to the people, very committed to society. And at the same time a small universal Church in miniature as we are about 80 nationalities here. This characterizes all our churches in North Africa, from Morocco to Libya. It is an experience of fraternal family communion."

“We are at the crossroads of three worlds: the African world to which we belong, the European world, and the Eastern world,” Mons. Lhernould said and added, “There are some Europeans, some Orientals, many Africans, and new disciples, people who come from different horizons, and who let themselves be touched by Christ.”

“Interreligious dialogue is very important and at the same time ecumenical dialogue, but also because there are Christians of different faiths in our regions and once again, it is really fraternal love that makes us recognize that we are the disciples of Jesus and this fraternal love should be lived in an ecumenical way too.” the Bishop-elect said.

“Inter-religious dialogue with our Muslim brothers and friends is a little bit like the oxygen we breathe every day,” Mons. Lhernould concluded.

More in Africa