Dushanbe (Fides Service) – For the first time the notes of Handel’s “Messiah” resounded in Tajikistan. Parts of the work regarding the birth of Christ and the majestic final were performed at a Christmas concert at St Joseph’s parish in Dushanbe, parish priest Father Juan Carlos Sack, a missionary of the Incarnate Word tells Fides Service. Special guests at the concert included Tajikistan’s Minister of Culture and seven Ambassadors. Some 300 people, many of them foreign citizens, crammed into the hall where 240 seats had been arranged. A heavy fall of snow just before the concert gave the event a special Christmas atmosphere.
Organisation expenses were more than covered by proceedings from the sale of tickets and other contributions and the organisers were able to donate the remaining 800 US dollars to a local old people’s Home. The concert was performed by the Dushanbe Mixed Choir formed ad hoc for the occasion with singers of different nationalities and religions.
The Tajikistan Catholic Mission was established by Pope John Paul II in 1997 and entrusted to the Institute of the Incarnate Word, a religious missionary community established in Argentina in 1984. In Tajikistan there are 3 Catholic priests and a group of Missionaries of Charity, Mother Teresa’s Sisters. The Mission has three parishes and a community of about 250 local Catholics plus a few dozen foreign Catholic residents working for international companies. (S.L.) (Fides Service 23/12/2003 – lines 17; words 243)