Due to the damage caused by the earthquake in Izmir, the Christmas Day Celebrations could only be held in some churches. On Thursday, December 24, it was first celebrated in Italian at the Church of Santa Maria by the Fransiscan priests.
This year, the Turkish Christmas Night Mass was led by the Latin Catholic Archbishop of İzmir, Lorenzo Piretto, together with the Community of St. John’s Cathedral, while Father Ugo, the Priest of St. John’s Cathedral, accompanied the Mass.
After the Archbishop blessed the little baby Jesus in the nursery, Mgr Piretto asked the community to pray for Mgr Ruben Tierrablanca the Latin Catholic Spiritual Head of Istanbul, for his acceptance to the Heaven, who passed away on the evening of December 22nd.
After reading the Words from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah and Words from the Epistle of St. Paul to Titus, the Deacon Nikola read the words from the Bible of St. Luke.
Then, in his sermon, Monsignor Piretto: “… It is not easy to live in joy in the darkness of difficulties, suffering and worrying about the future. But the good news of Christmas is that God never leaves us. He comes to give us strength, comfort and hope. The gospel tells us that God is the Father and continues to love and support us. Christmas feast tells us that God is love. In this world of violence and hatred, in the midst of the suffering caused by the epidemic, the birth of Jesus guarantees that God’s compassion supports us and gives us hope ”. he said.
Three different Masses in Italian, Turkish and English were celebrated on Friday, December 25, at the İzmir Santa Maria Church for the celebration of Christmas Day. The Turkish mass was again led by the Latin Catholic Archbishop of İzmir, Lorenzo Piretto, accompanied by Father Ugo, the Priest of St. John’s Cathedral.
Mgr Piretto brought the little baby Jesus to the front of the nursery, first showing it to everyone, then putting it in the nursery and then blessing it.
At the beginning of his sermon the archbishop said: “… Today, let’s also pray for monseigneur Ruben. May the merciful God accept him to Heaven, “He said.
“… Pope Francesco, despite all the difficulties of this time, invites us once again to welcome the novelty of Christmas with optimism.
And then Pope Francesco also invites us to be awake while praying. Prayer makes us live with joy and love. Prayer lifts our gaze upward and focuses us on God. Moreover, it is necessary to overcome indifference sleep with love. Those who do not care about those around live in sleep of indifference, they only think of themselves and are indifferent to the needs of others. We must open our hearts to those who need us the most. “Just as one cannot live without a heartbeat, one cannot be a Christian without benevolence, without feeling compassion, without helping, without serving.” He said.
Serkan Şahin, who played the organ in these Masses, and Mesut Bey, who was the attendant of the Cathedral, added color to the celebrations by singing beautiful and lively Christmas hymns.
Nathalie Ritzmann (SAT-7 TÜRK, İzmir)