Mgr Vesco is the new archbishop of Algiers
Since 2012, Vesco served as bishop of Oran, where Mgr Pierre Claverie was martyred. The 59-year-old Dominican will head a frontier Church in daily dialogue with Islam. “I entrust everything to God’s grace.”
Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Today, the feast of Saint John the Evangelist, Pope Francis announced the appointment of the new archbishop of Algiers, Mgr Jean-Paul Vesco, a 59-year-old Dominican who has served as bishop of the Algerian diocese of Oran since 2012.
He replaces Mgr Paul Desfarges, SJ, who leaves the Archdiocese of Algiers upon reaching the age limit.
The appointment of Bishop Vesco is very significant in terms of dialogue between Christians and Muslims.
The small Church of Algeria is a frontier Christian community, whose discreet presence in a Muslim country has led to bridges of friendship in daily life over the years.
This relationship has been equally consolidated by the testimony of the martyrs who, together with the Algerian people, experienced the dark years and massacres of the 1990s.
One of Bishop Vesco’s predecessors as bishop of Oran, Pierre Claverie, was killed by a car bomb at the entrance to the bishopric in 1996, and is one 19 martyrs of Algeria beatified on 8 December 2018.
Bishop Vesco was born in Lyon on 10 March 1962. He studied and practiced law before entering the novitiate of the Dominicans in 1995.
Ordained a priest in 2001, he completed his studies in Jerusalem before arriving in Algeria in 2002.
In 2010 he was elected prior provincial of the Dominicans in France before Benedict XVI appointed him as the head of the Diocese of Oran.
In a message to the faithful of Oran, the new archbishop of Algiers writes that his inauguration will be on 11 February.
"Leaving the Diocese of Oran was not really something I envisaged, but I am sure that this change will bring new richness and fruitfulness. In any case, this is my wish on the eve of the new year.
“I thank you from the bottom of my heart for being brothers and sisters to me. I ask forgiveness from those I might have hurt or neglected in spite of myself. I am grateful for everything we have experienced, and that is a lot. I entrust everything to God’s grace with confidence.”
In another letter to his new Archdiocese of Algiers he adds: “It is an office and an honour that until recently were not in my mind, but I receive them with confidence and joy.”
Finally, “I wish everyone a good year of mutual discovery and journey together, and I greet you fraternally.”