Ashgabat - The whole pontificate of Pope Francis is at the service of marginalized margins, missions and suburbs. This missionary awakening is positive and necessary for the whole Church", says Fr. Andrzej Madej, of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate , Superior of the Missio sui iuris of Turkmenistan, to Agenzia Fides, speaking of the "extraordinary missionary Month", that the Church is living and that reached its peak on World Mission Sunday 20 October.
Precisely in this special month, in the Chapel of the Transfiguration of the Lord of the capital Ashgabat, a third priest of the Oblates arrived, joining Fr. Madej and confrere Fr. Rafal Chilimoniuk. The new religious in this first mission period will dedicate himself to learning the Turkmen language. In this regard, the Superior of the Missio sui iuris explains: "We have always carried out our mission using Russian, but today it is no longer sufficient: the number of those who speak this language decreases. The people who come to the city from the countryside or from small towns speak Turkmen".
"This is a step of joy and hope for us: knowing the local language will open a new era of mission, because finally there will be someone who can enter the language and therefore the culture of this people. We have got a good future ahead for our mission: here in Turkmenistan, we represent a very small community, always trusting in the grace of God who does not abandon us", concluded Fr. Madej.
Turkmenistan has 5 million inhabitants, 90% Muslim. The Catholic Church was reborn with the Missio sui iuris established by John Paul II in 1997. For thirteen years, the presence of the Oblates was admitted only as a representation of the Vatican Embassy: at the beginning we met in private homes and Mass was celebrated in the diplomatic territory of the Apostolic Nunciature of Ashgabat. In 2010 the Turkmen government officially recognized the Catholic presence. The Turkmen Catholic community sees the presence of numerous ecclesial groups, such as the biblical one, that of preaching and that dedicated to young people and children. >>