Turkey: all faiths gather to mourn slain priest

 A large number of people, including Christian and Muslim leaders and civil authorities are expected to attend a Requiem Mass for Fr Andrea Santoro in the Holy Spirit Catholic Cathedral in Istanbul this evening. The celebrants were Archbishop Antonio Lucibello Nuncio in Turkey and the Bishops of Turkey. Catholic religious present included Sr Sofia one of a community of three Little Sisters of Jesus of Blessed Charles de Focauld in Istanbul for 30 years. Over the telephone Sr Sofia said: "The martyrdom of Fr Andrea has strengthened unity among Christians here in Turkey. We have received many messages of sympathy from Christians of other confessions. The Armenian-Gregorian Patriarch asked his people to attend the service this evening. The civil authorities and Muslim religious leaders were swift to condemn the act and this had a good impact on public opinion. As soon as we heard the news we gathered to pray. The next morning, at Mass for the feast of the Japanese martyrs, we added the name of Fr Andrea. It was very moving." The sister said she was confident about the future of Christians in Turkey although at the moment "we are still shocked and want to know the truth. Our community of Sisters will continue its mission to serve the Church, and to assist those in need and build friendship with all. So far Muslims have not changed their attitude towards us. We have been here for many years and have never received a single threat. We are a small community which lives and promotes a culture of tolerance, understanding and love of neighbour. Today we are confident for the future. We know the people of Turkey are in favour of dialogue between cultures and religions." Source: Fides

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