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Pope Among Donors to Restoration of Algeria's Basilica of St. Augustine
Catholic News Service ^ | 8/24/12 | Cindy Wooden

Posted on 08/26/2012 9:48:37 AM PDT by marshmallow

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- With a personal donation, Pope Benedict XVI -- a longtime scholar of the works of St. Augustine -- has contributed to the restoration of the Basilica of St. Augustine in Annaba, Algeria, near the site where the fourth-century saint served as bishop of Hippo.

Bishop Paul Desfarges of Constantine, Algeria, told the Vatican newspaper that Pope Benedict's personal donation, as well as a contribution from the U.S.-based Papal Foundation, demonstrates the importance of the project. The Algerian government also has given its support.

"We all know how St. Augustine is dear to the heart of the pope," the bishop said in the interview published Aug. 24 in L'Osservatore Romano.

"We also know that the basilica of Annaba, in Algeria, isn't just a house of worship. The whole Hippo hill, with the basilica at the summit, is a symbolic place. It is a strong symbol of coexistence and human and spiritual brotherhood," the bishop said.

St. Augustine's life story, his culture and education, his search for God and to do God's will prompt both Christians and Muslims, as well as nonbelievers, to examine what is most essential in life, he said.

The Basilica of St. Augustine, completed in 1900, stands a few hundred yards from the archaeological site of the ancient town of Hippo Regius. The ruins include the remains of the ancient basilica where St. Augustine served as bishop from 395 to 430.

The basilica is staffed by three Augustinian priests, the bishop said. They would like to have more priests there for pastoral work and welcoming pilgrims and tourists, but getting visas for priests and religious is a challenge.

Bishop Desfarges said the visitors include many Muslims who want to get to know St. Augustine better or are just looking for a quiet place.


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TOPICS: Catholic; History; Ministry/Outreach; Religion & Culture

1 posted on 08/26/2012 9:48:46 AM PDT by marshmallow
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