The Jesuits of Turkey were also in full attendance.
They too arrived by bus, traveling from the capital Ankara with a large group
of parishioners. Among them was Simon Cho Chang-mo, a Jesuit from the South
Korean Province who arrived in Turkey only a few months ago to join the
community. Also present were our Provincial Michael Zammit and the President of
the Conference of European Provincials (JCEP), Dalibor Renić.
As Assistant to Father General for the Middle East, I
can appreciate how far we have come. I remember how Pope Francis insisted on
appointing a new bishop for Anatolia, following the assassination in 2010 of
Bishop Luigi Padovese at his residence in Iskenderun. Five years later, in 2015,
an Italian Jesuit, Paolo Bizzeti, was consecrated bishop of Anatolia, and now,
eight years later, the diocese has been given a Turkish auxiliary bishop,
Antuan Ilgit. His first concern will undoubtedly be reconstructing the
cathedral, which collapsed in the earthquake. At the same time, he will have to
set about building the “living stones” that are the true foundation of the
Church in Turkey.
to say, a heavy responsibility now rests on the shoulders of our Jesuit
companion, the new bishop. We therefore want to assure him of the active
support of the Society of Jesus and, above all, of our prayers.