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Brief papal tribute to St. Augustine

April 28, 2014

Declining an invitation from Algerian bishops to reconsecrate the newly restored Basilica of St. Augustine, Pope Francis has sent Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, as his special envoy.

The church, originally consecrated in 1909, was raised to the rank of minor basilica in 1914. It is located in Annaba, the northeastern Algerian city once known as Hippo, where St. Augustine ministered as a bishop from 395 to 430. The reconsecration will take place on May 2.

In a letter dated March 21 but released April 26, Pope Francis asked Cardinal Tauran to “highlight for civil and religious authorities the influence of the person and the importance of the teaching of St. Augustine for the people also of our time.” The Pope also asked the French prelate to encourage the faithful “to seek the divine will with new zeal, by prayers and meditation, as well as by consideration of spiritual needs.”

“We wish that you extend words of Our good will also to Muslims, especially to those who show signs of good will towards the Christians staying there,” Pope Francis added.


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