Seychelles’ New Bishop Meets With President, Says He Will Focus On Education, Social Ills

The new Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Port Victoria met with President Wavel Ramkalawan on Wednesday and said that the church should have a stronger participation in the education sector in the island nation

Bishop Alain Harel said he intends to focus on education and responding to social ills such as drug abuse throughout his mission in the archipelago.

Harel, 70, a Mauritian, took up his new post on Tuesday during a special mass at the Immaculate Conception Cathedral. Wednesday was his first official visit with President Ramkalawan at State House.

“The president and I spoke a lot about the different ills in society and how the Catholic Church and other religious denominations can help to surmount them. And one of those current issues that I have heard of is the abuse of illicit drugs,” he said.

Before taking his post in Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, Bishop Harel was the Apostolic Administrator of Rodrigues — an autonomous outer island of Mauritius. Harel is the 10th bishop to head the Roman Catholic Church since its establishment on the island nation in 1852.

Harel said that there is still a large group of Roman Catholic believers coming for mass in different churches around the islands “but this does not mean that we should close our eyes. Faith is a personal choice and not hereditary. Each generation would have to choose. The ambition is there and it is to present the young with the words of Jesus and how they can accept him in their lives.”