Find Courage from the Cross: Mauritian Cardinal to Agaléga Islands Church on Anniversary

Maurice Cardinal Piat of Port Louis Diocese in Mauritius. Credit: Port Louis Diocese

The Bishop of Port-Louis in Mauritius has expressed his closeness with members of the Catholic community in Agaléga Islands who are served by the Mauritian Catholic Diocese, and urged them to find strength and courage in the Cross implanted to commemorate the arrival of the first missionaries 125 years ago.

In his message on the occasion of 125 years of Church presence in Agaléga Islands, Maurice Evenor Cardinal Piat remembered early missionaries who implanted the Cross of St. Rita on the shores of the Agaléga Islands, which he said has become a constant reminder of God’s love among the people of God on the Islands.

“I share your joy and thanksgiving to the Lord on this day of the 125th anniversary of the implantation of the great cross of St. Rita in the southern island of Agaléga,” Cardinal Piat says in his message published Wednesday, September 14, the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.

The member of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans) adds, “This cross marks the memory of the day of arrival in the Island of the first Catholic Priest, Father Malaval, who was the first to bring the Word of God and the sacraments of the Church to the people of Agaléga.”

“By looking at him (Jesus on the Cross) with confidence and letting him touch our hearts, we ourselves will be able to forgive those who have offended us, and be reconciled,” he says, and adds, “Let us take courage from the cross to continue to walk together in the footsteps of Jesus, to serve one another and to live in peace as brothers and sisters in the same family.”


With the presence of the Cross of St. Rita, Catholicism is deeply rooted in the Agaléga Islands, which are located 1,000 kilometers North of Mauritius with a population of just about 300 people.

The Catholic community in Agaléga celebrated on September 8 the 125th anniversary of the Church's presence on the Indian Ocean Islands. This is the first time that the faithful have commemorated the arrival of the first missionaries on the island.

In his message published on the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, September 14, Cardinal Piat notes that the Cross that is positioned on the seashore reminds the inhabitants of Agaléga Islands that “Jesus, who died on the cross and rose on the third day 2000 years ago, gave his life for love of us.”

“Today, this Jesus is still alive, he loves you and is close to each of you, the Agaleans of the North Island and the South Island. He shares your joys, he knows your sorrows, he stays close to you, he carries your cross with you, he encourages you and illuminates your life with the light of his love,” the Mauritian Cardinal says.

He expresses his appreciation for Catholic Sisters who are providing pastoral care to the Islands, saying, “Thank you, dear Sisters, for your perseverance, for your support and your joyful service.”

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The 81-year-old Cardinal who started his Episcopal Ministry in May 1991 as Coadjutor Bishop of Port Louis Diocese encourages the people of God on the Islands to always take time to stop by the Cross of St. Rita, to meditate and pray whenever they come near the cross.

He says, “Remember that this Jesus who was rejected by the people of his time and who was wounded by our sins, our indifference, this Jesus looks at us with love from the Cross. He does not reject us; on the contrary he offers us his forgiveness and proposes to us to live a beautiful friendship with him.”

Agnes Aineah is a Kenyan journalist with a background in digital and newspaper reporting. She holds a Master of Arts in Digital Journalism from the Aga Khan University, Graduate School of Media and Communications and a Bachelor's Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communications from Kenya's Moi University. Agnes currently serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.