Dushanbe (Fides Service) - The small community of Catholics in Tajikistan learned with sadness of the death of Pope John Paul II and offered Masses and prayers for the eternal repose of his soul. Masses were celebrated in Russian for the local people and in English for foreign residents. Today people are following the funeral Mass in St Peter’s Square on television.
“We are proud of our Holy Father and we thank God for giving his Church such a pope, Tireless preacher and missionary, he defended the human rights and human dignity of every person. Great defender of the faith and guardian of our faith, he was an example of total self-giving and consecration to God and to his Church, which he led with the zeal of the Good Shepherd” the Superior of the Catholic Mission in Tajikistan, Father Carlos Avila told Fides. The priest told us he received countless messages of condolence on the part of many people, including non Christians, on behalf of the government, the diplomatic corps, local humanitarian organisations, and also from the Party for Muslim Renewal and from neighbours mostly Muslims (R.Z.) (Agenzia Fides 8/4/2005)