Bishkek (Agenzia Fides) - A week of fraternity and spirituality on the shores of Lake Issyk-Kul: this is the initiative organized by the Church in Kyrgyzstan for the young people of the Parish of the capital Bishkek, and a number of neighboring villages. As reported in a note sent to Agenzia Fides, the initiative took place in recent weeks at the Children's Rehabilitation and Health Center, the home for disabled and destitute Kyrgyz children, located on the shores of Lake Issyk-kul and managed by the religious of the Society of Jesus.
"The children were welcomed inside a new building, completed a few months ago, within the perimeter of the Center. In this new area it is possible to warm up in front of a fireplace: the warmth of the hearth and good company have helped to create an atmosphere of openness and mutual trust. In this climate of fraternity, young people were able to combine business with pleasure: rest from daily chaos and spiritual growth", indicates the note.
The common thread of the whole week was the theme of the love of the Father, with excerpts from the Apostolic Letter "Patris corde" and special attention given to the figure of St. Joseph, on the occasion of the year that Pope Francis dedicated to him. "During one of the catecheses - continues the text sent to Fides - the young people were asked to write a letter to the Father. The moments of formative and spirituality alternated with biblical quizzes organized by the two nuns present and with excursions to the mountains and nearby villages. There was no shortage of adventures either. During a walk, two girls stayed behind the group and got lost in the village of Jenish so Father Remigus had to go in search of the 'lost sheep'. We took advantage of this experience to read the Gospel episode of the Good Shepherd.
These days in Issyk-Kul represented an excellent start for 2021 for these young people. They were all very happy to have lived this experience of rest and fraternity".
The activities of the Issyk Center generally take place especially in summer, when school camps are organized for disabled, orphaned and poor children, often carried out in collaboration with Kyrgyz social assistance structures. Furthermore, every year an astronomy camp is also organized for deserving students who have little financial means.
In Kyrgyzstan, there are currently three parishes in the cities of Bishkek, Jalal-Abad and Talas, but many small communities are spread across the rural areas of the country. Local Catholics can count on the spiritual assistance of seven priests, a religious and five Franciscan nuns. In 1997, John Paul II founded the Mission sui iuris, as was also the case for the neighboring states of Central Asia. In 2006, Benedict XVI elevated the Ecclesiastical Circumscription to the rank of Apostolic Administration. In addition to the Muslim majority, 7% of the population is Christian, including 3% of Orthodox faith. Jews, Buddhists and other small minorities make up about 3% of the population. (LF-PA) (Agenzia Fides, 19/2/2021)