Vatican City (Agenzia Fides) - On 16 March 2017 the Holy Father accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Laghouat (Algeria), presented by His Exc. Mgr. Claude Rault, M. Afr. The Holy Father appointed Fr. John Gordon MacWilliam, M. Afr., Superior Provincial for Algeria and Tunisia as Bishop of Laghouat.
The new Bishop was born on November 20, 1948 in Wimbledon (Surrey County, New London), England. Son of military father, during his adolescence he lived in Sudan and Zimbabwe. He served in the army for seventeen years. He then joined the Missionaries of Africa and completed his studies in Philosophy at the Society’s Missionary Institute in London (1984-1986), spending the Year of Spirituality (1986-1987) in Fribourg. After two years’ training in the Maghreb, especially in Tunisia (1987-1989), he returned to London to complete his studies in Theology (1989-1992). During the same period he gave his religious vows (December 1991), and then received diaconal ordination (December 1991). He was ordained a priest on 4 July 1992.
After ordination he held the following offices and undertook further studies: 1992-1995: Studies in Islamology at the P.I.S.A.I. in Rome; (1995-2008): Various roles in Algeria; 2008-2015: Various roles in Tunisia, including Head of the Institute of Arab Letters (I.B.L.A.); since 2015: Superior provincial for North Africa.
The diocese of Laghouat, erected in 1951, covers an area of 2,107,705 sq km., with more than 4.510 million inhabitants, of whom 1,200 Catholics (0.02%), divided into 10 parishes. There are 18 priests, 4 Fidei Donum and 14 religious, 33 religious women and 23 religious brothers. (SL) (Agenzia Fides 17/03/2017)