In Dushanbe, the 'little' Catholic community in a ‘great' Easter celebration
In the country there are a little more than a hundred faithful. The two parishes of Tajikistan celebrate together with foreign Catholics who work in the capital. This year, there were 150 faithful present. The joy of the little ones, impatient to help as altar servers.
Dushanbe (AsiaNews) - "There is real joy because we prayed together, a great celebration", says Fr. Pedro Ramiro López, IVE missionary (Institute of the Incarnate Word) and superior of the mission sui iuris of Tajikistan, commenting on the celebration of Easter by the faithful of the small Tajika Catholic community.
There are two parishes and three priests, for just over 120 faithful in the country, mostly young families. There are 30 children between 10 and 15 years of age. Out of a population of about 8.7 million people, Catholics are not included in percentage. The Catholic Church has been present in the ex-Soviet republic for just over 20 years, with a sui iuris mission set up in 1997.
At Mass for the Easter vigil, Holy Saturday, the church of St. Joseph, the largest of Tajikistan, had 150 faithful, including 20-25 foreigners working in Dushanbe. Among the foreign faithful there were also some western diplomats, who attend Mass every Sunday. "On this occasion there was also the American ambassador".
At Easter, the small Tajika Catholic community celebrates a single Mass for the whole community, as also happens for the Christmas holidays and for the feast of the patroness of the IVE, Our Lady of Luján. "It's important to us, because the community is small. When we are all together, the celebration is more solemn, we reiterate the importance of this celebration for all Christians. We read the eight readings in different languages, to manifest the universality of the Church: Tajik, Russian, English, Spanish, Italian, Tagalog [of the Philippines]. This is because at the Holy Saturday Mass there were about 30 foreigners, who are working in Dushanbe and come from the Philippines, from Italy, from America ... "
Easter is particularly awaited by the youngest, impatient to be able to help as altar servers to celebrate Mass.