12/15/2015, 00.00
UZBEKISTAN – VATICAN
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Jubilee of Mercy in Tashkent: children open the Holy Door

Mgr Jerzy Maculewicz, apostolic administrator of the Catholic Church in Uzbekistan, talks about the celebrations for the beginning of the Jubilee of Mercy in the Central Asian country. In the capital, the entire Catholic community was present. In 2016, each of the country’s parish will be open for three or four jubilee days "during which the faithful can receive the indulgence." Thus, even the remotest areas can be reached. He also talked about relations with Muslims, and called for good neighbourliness irrespective of one’s religion, for God looks “at a person’s heart."

Tashkent (AsiaNews) – Children opened the Holy Door of Tashkent’s Cathedral of the Sacred Heart of Jesus "because they are the purest, pure of heart,” said Mgr Jerzy Maculewicz, apostolic administrator of the Catholic Church in Uzbekistan, as he spoke with AsiaNews about the celebrations that inaugurated the Jubilee of Mercy in Uzbekistan.

During the homily, “I asked everyone present to be merciful, reconcile with their neighbours, in a country where Muslims make up 80 per cent of the population. I asked them to not only experience the divine mercy, but also learn from God to be merciful towards others."

All 300 members of the capital’s Catholic community gathered outside the cathedral for the ceremony at noon (local time) on Sunday for the Gospel reading. After that, they proceeded towards the church’s central door, decked out with the symbols of the Jubilee.

"At this point, the children opened the Holy Door, inaugurating the Jubilee of mercy in our country,” Mgr Maculewicz said. “They pulled the ropes tied to the door handles and let everyone enter the church. I came in holding the Gospel over my head and we continued the festivities inside."

The local Church plans to bring the Jubilee to the remotest corners of Uzbekistan, the bishop said. “In such a vast country, not every Christian can travel thousands of kilometres to reach Tashkent. For this reason, we shall bring the Holy Year to them”.

In 2016, “three or four jubilee days will be held in all the country’s parishes.  This way Catholics can confess, attend Mass and receive the indulgence.”

“During Lent we plan meetings with priests and lay people to talk about penance but also renew our spiritual life,” he explained. "Hence, we will see the fruits of the Year of mercy even in the farthest parishes."

Speaking about the relationship between Christians and the Muslim majority, Mgr Maculewicz said that even before the beginning of the Holy Year he had sought to "encourage dialogue between our religions."

Speaking at a conference organised by the Intercultural Centre to celebrate the Asian country’s constitution on 8 December, “which for us Catholics is important” because it falls on the feast day of “the Immaculate Conception, I reminded the representatives of other confessions that Pope Francis made us the gift of the Jubilee on the day of the national holiday.

The prelate “also pointed out that the rules of the state are very important. We must first put some heart, the mercy Pope Francis spoke about, in the laws that govern our life.” Such “divine mercy” must include “being merciful between ourselves, between people of different cultures and different religions."

He reiterated this view during the homily in the Sunday Mass. "I told Catholic believers to be good, to seek reconciliation, to do good deeds to others, irrespective of their religion, not only to one’s Catholic neighbours. We are all important in the eyes of God. He does not look at religion but at a person’s heart."

Finally, the bishop expressed "deep joy in remembering that in early December two of our Franciscan brothers, Fr Michael Tomaszek and Fr Zbigniew Strzalkowski, were beatified and became the first martyrs of Peru. In their honour, we celebrated a religious service yesterday. "

Jubilee of Mercy Tashkent
Jubilee of Mercy Tashkent
Jubilee of Mercy Tashkent
Jubilee of Mercy Tashkent
Jubilee of Mercy Tashkent
Jubilee of Mercy Tashkent
Jubilee of Mercy Tashkent
Jubilee of Mercy Tashkent
Jubilee of Mercy Tashkent
Jubilee of Mercy Tashkent
Jubilee of Mercy Tashkent
Jubilee of Mercy Tashkent
Jubilee of Mercy Tashkent
Jubilee of Mercy Tashkent
Jubilee of Mercy Tashkent
Jubilee of Mercy Tashkent
Jubilee of Mercy Tashkent
Jubilee of Mercy Tashkent
Jubilee of Mercy Tashkent
Jubilee of Mercy Tashkent
Jubilee of Mercy Tashkent
Jubilee of Mercy Tashkent
Jubilee of Mercy Tashkent
Jubilee of Mercy Tashkent
Jubilee of Mercy Tashkent
Jubilee of Mercy Tashkent
Jubilee of Mercy Tashkent
Jubilee of Mercy Tashkent
Jubilee of Mercy Tashkent
Jubilee of Mercy Tashkent
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