Shalom

Shalom in Algiers opens Chapel dedicated to Saint Joseph

On the day of S. Joseph the Worker, the Algerian Mission opened the Chapel dedicated to the saint, located inside the Sacred Heart of Jesus Cathedral. The chapel, according to the organizers, was a dream of God and will be able to evangelize many who pass through there.

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The Shalom Community in Algeria inaugurated, in May, the Chapel of Saint Joseph, in the Sacred Heart of Jesus Cathedral, in Algiers (Capital of Algeria), with the presence and blessing of the local Archbishop, Dom Paul Desfarges.

According to the Local Responsible, Fr. Jean Fernandes Costa, it was a great grace for the mission: “God, in His providence, already in this year’s planning, had inspired us to inaugurate this space dedicated to Saint Joseph in the Cathedral, and we did not know that this year it would be devoted to him. ” God is always faithful and provident, and this new time of Shalom Algiers reveals the experience of the Sacred in the Shalom Vocation in view of the people whom the Lord has entrusted.

After the Shalom Community Authority Service Retreat last August, the missionaries were motivated to hear from God what He wanted for each mission in this new time brought about by Divine Grace in the Community. According to Fr. Jean, the brothers from the Algiers mission prayed and formulated a plan to consolidate some realities, among them the experience of the sacred.

“As we are responsible for the entire pastoral and liturgical dimension of the Cathedral of Algiers, we saw fit to express our love and devotion to Saint Joseph through a‘ sacred space ’inside the Cathedral. We planned and prepared to open this new space in March. However, when the Pope decreed in December that 2021 would be consecrated to Saint Joseph, we realized that the Lord wanted a chapel. Therefore, we would need more time to complete this project, and we had to postpone the opening to May this year, on the day of Saint Joseph the Worker”.

The Algiers Cathedral, dedicated to the Sacred Heart, was built in the shape of a desert tent, with four distinct “spaces” at the ends of the central space. On the right side of the altar, since the consecration of the cathedral in 1962, there is already a chapel of the Blessed Sacrament and, on the left side, a chapel dedicated to Our Lady, where, since the beatification of the 19 martyrs of Algeria, in 2018, they have been placed the original beatification icon and the relics of these blesseds.

The chapel inaugurated in dedication to Saint Joseph, as a result of this new time, is on the left side of the altar, at the bottom of the Cathedral (note the orange circled detail).

In the Chapel there is still an icon of St. Joseph, which will be written by a sister of the Community, a missionary in Tunisia. Because, due to the closed borders because of the pandemic, it was only possible to have the impression of the icon placed in a frame. Regarding this fact, the Local Responsible states: “an interesting detail to highlight the providence of God through Saint Joseph is the fact that we have made budgets for the printing of the icon in a printing shop and for the assembly of the frame with an artisan. When they learned that the work would be for a chapel in the cathedral, they both donated the material to us”. We see Saint Joseph himself always being very provident in every action and work of this project.

The Shalom Community, since taking over this Cathedral in 2018, has always sought to contribute through the Charism in several aspects, among them the zeal and beauty of the liturgy, in addition to welcoming.

This chapel expresses love and devotion to Saint Joseph, it is a new “sacred space” inside the Cathedral that will attract many visitors to get to know Jesus through Joseph’s intercession.

Since God never ceases to amaze with His provision, despite the spiritual and liturgical contribution, the experience of divine providence manifests itself in the most diverse ways. As in Algeria the number of Christians is very low (according to the sense of 2019, about 0.03% of the population is Catholic) and there is not a significant number of faithful that the Cathedral can count on, for several years it was without restoration , but, little by little, it was possible to restore existing spaces and innovate to attract the Algerian people. Earlier this year, for example, the crypt was completely restored, where masses are celebrated daily.

“She was very somber and people who saw her had a hard time praying for her. Today the opposite happens, many people thank us for having restored the chapel, because today it is very orational, ”says the priest.

Inside the space fit 50 people. But, if necessary, because the chairs in the Cathedral’s central nave are mobile, more people can be accommodated, and access is free in the chapel.


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