Rome to Remember Martyrs in Algeria

ROME, MARCH 23, 2004 ( On Martyred Missionaries Day, Rome will recall the testimony of Catholics killed in Algeria by fundamentalist Muslim terrorists.

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Archbishop Henri Tessier of Algiers will recall the memory of the 19 religious killed in his country in 1994-1996, when he presides at a Mass on Wednesday in the Basilica of the Holy Apostles.

Martyred Missionaries Day is promoted by the Youth Missionary Movement of the Pontifical Missionary Societies, on the anniversary of the 1980 assassination of Archbishop Oscar Romero of San Salvador.

On Thursday, Archbishop Tessier will present in the same basilica a 192-page book on «Christians in Algeria: The Church of Weakness,» written in Italian and published by Emi.

In the introduction, the archbishop states what differentiates the martyrs of Algeria from the rest of the 20th-century martyrs. They «did not give their lives so as not to deny the faith, or to defend a Christian community, but out of fidelity to the Muslim people,» he writes.

Among the Catholic martyrs in Algeria are the seven Trappist monks of Our Lady of the Atlas, in Thibirine, whose bodies were found in May 1996. They had been kidnapped two months earlier by a Muslim terrorist group.

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