Thanks to the sabbatical year I'm enjoying, here I am, after visiting Athens and Plovdiv, in another of our Near Eastern missions, Istanbul-Kadiköy.
In spite of the political tensions perceptible in the country (above all, questions concerning the Armenian genocide), the economic and social activity in Turkey is surprising, especially for one who comes from a country like France where there are crises of every order taking place.
I was able to attend a magnificent concert, no doubt a prelude to the 150th anniversary of the Assumptionist Mission to the Near East (1862-2012). It was a piano concert with more than 60 choir members from different religions and nationalities, held in our parish church of the Assumption. It focused on the theme of the Magnificat with pieces by Vivaldi and Pergolesi.
The church was filled by our Muslim friends who were able to appreciate the spirit of welcome and openness of Christians desirous of an interreligious dialogue by means of art and culture.
Both the Assumptionists and the Oblate Sisters contributed to the success of this evening. This is what is new in Istanbul. Not grandiose declarations, but concrete gestures such as this concert and language and computer courses offered by Fr. Jules Nguru (A.A.) and Sr. Fruges Mpiaka (O.A.), often attended by immigrants.
Fr. Lucas Chuffart,a.a. on visit in the Eastern mission