The Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI has appointed fr Jean-Paul Vesco, OP as the new Bishop of Oran in Algeria. He is from the Province of France and he succeeds Bishop Alphonse Georger who has just retired.
Fr Jean-Paul was born in 1962 in Lyon. After his law degree, he worked in a law firm in Lyon before joining the Order. He made his first profession in 1996 and was ordained to the priesthood in 2001.
He did pastoral work in the Diocese of Oran from 2002 and was a delegate of the diocese for the preparation of the Algerian Inter-diocesan Assembly. In 2005 he was appointed the Vicar General of the diocese and later the bursar. In 2009 he was elected the superior of the Dominican Community of Tlemcen, a position he held until he was elected the provincial of the province of France in 2011. He was the provincial until his appointment as Bishop.
There are four Catholic dioceses in Algeria: Algiers, Constantine, Oran and Laghouat-Ghardaia. The diocese of Oran has more than eight million people. However, Christians are only about a thousand and they are made up of Catholics, Orthodox, Coptic, and evangelicals. The majority of Catholics are very dynamic: they are students studying in various universities in sub-Saharan Africa. They are supported in their faith by priests and religious of various congregations.