19 Christians, who were martyred in Algeria between 1994 and 1996, were beatified at a Dec. 8 ceremony at the Shrine of Our Lady of the Holy Cross during a Mass in Oran, Algeria. The beatification was celebrated by Cardinal Giovanni Angelo Becciu, prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. The marytrs were killed during the Algerian Civil War by Islamists, among them Bishop Pierre Claverie and seven Trappist monks. Blessed Claverie was a French Algerian, and Bishop of Oran from 1981 until his Aug. 1, 1996 martyrdom. The best known of Bl. Claverie's companions are the seven monks of Tibhirine, Blessed Christian de Cherge and six other Trappists who were abducted from their monastery of Tibhirine, south of Algiers, in 1996. They were kept as a bartering chip to procure the release of several imprisoned members of the Armed Islamic Group of Algeria, and were killed in May. Their story was dramatized in the 2010 French film Of Gods and Men, which won the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival. After the death of the monks of Tibhirine, Claverie knew his life was in serious danger. A bomb exploded at the entrance of his chancery Aug. 1, 1996, killing him and an aide, Mohamed Bouchikhi.
Finally, the Archbishop of Algiers invited the faithful to live this “time of witnessing” through interreligious dialogue.
“The witness of the Catholic Church is not a witness against another's religion, but a witness that the love of Christ poured out in our hearts calls us to live a love for everyone, without distinction, even enemies,” he concluded.