12/11/2004, 00.00
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The Immaculate Conception and the Eucharist, a course in Christian culture in Tashkent

Tashkent (AsiaNews) – In a predominantly Muslim country, Catholics have organised year-long courses in Christian culture. Launched last February the courses involve seminars on the Holy Scriptures, the Church's dogmas and moral theology. The faithful come from different parishes.

The latest course was offered on December 6 and 7 in Tashkent's Catholic church. It was also a time to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception. Discussions revolved around the history of the dogma and the Marian worship in the Catholic Church.

The Eucharist was also discussed. Participants were given the opportunity to examine John Paul II's Apostolic Letter Mane Nobiscum Domine. Parish priests from Samarkand, Fergana and Bukhara explained the letter's meaning and told the faithful how they can follow the path of faith.

By the end, after meetings and prayers, the seminar brought to a close the celebrations of the Immaculate Conception. The parish choir sang the Akathistos, the most famous Eastern hymn to the Virgin Mary, and the priests celebrated mass.

Uzbekistan has a population of 25 million, 88 per cent Muslim, Christian Orthodox are 9 per cent. Catholics are a few thousands, but some, baptised under Soviet rule, do not know that they are Catholic.

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