Ashgabat (Agenzia Fides) - "The last words of the Gospels speak of peace, joy, forgiveness, praise: let us start talking about these realities, about His resurrection that was shared with all of us. We cannot help but notice that the last three words of the Bible are "Grace to all". Where "grace" means "benevolence" and that "all" is inclusive of all humanity. All, without exclusions of race, sex, religion or culture, good and bad (Mt.5.45; Lk.6.35). Then let us put a beautiful statue of the risen Christ smiling in our churches": this is what is stated in a message sent to the faithful on the occasion of Easter, and sent to Agenzia Fides by Father Andrzej Madej Polish priest of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate (OMI), Superior of the Missio sui iuris of Turkmenistan.
The Superior continues: "In our homilies, in our catecheses, we teach and speak above all of Jesus crucified, as if this were the last chapter of the Gospel. On the contrary, we forget that the last verses of the Gospels speak of the resurrection of Jesus, of the peace he gave us, of the victory over fear and the joy of the disciples. But if the last words of the Gospels are: resurrection, joy, peace, escape from fear, forgiveness, blessing, why do we all priests, bishops, religious continue to speak mainly of the cross, suffering, death? I seem to be able to identify two main reasons: one theological and one psychological. The psychological one is easy to guess: our human life is made up of so much pain, betrayal and disillusionment: talking about passion, death and crucifixion directly reaches our spirit, to our everyday experience. It is an easy message to understand and perceive, not by chance in all our churches the crucifix stands out. Then the theological motivation is added to all this, that is, that Jesus saved us through his suffering, crucifixion and death. Yes, this is true, but only partially: it is more accurate to say that Jesus saved us through all his existence that contemplates the hidden life of Nazareth, preaching, miracles, passion, death, resurrection and ascension to heaven. This is the most exact and complete theology".
After having lived the representation of Jesus' entry into Jerusalem, during Palm Sunday, the Catholic community of Turkmenistan experienced all the rites of Holy Week and the Easter Vigil, some of which were also celebrated in English: for the occasion, to the two Oblates already present, Father Piotr Bielewicz, from Belarus temporarily joined them. On the occasion of Easter, some activities for children were organized, such as the preparation of traditional sweets or the decoration of eggs.
The small Turkmen Church, made up of about 250 faithful, continues its path of growth: four people are living their path of preparation for the sacraments of Reconciliation and Communion. The community meets in the chapel of the Transfiguration of the Lord, in the capital Ashgabat, led by two Oblate priests of Mary Immaculate, while a third priest should join the mission as from next July. (LF) (Agenzia Fides, 27/4/2019)