Turkey, Germany, Bulgaria

Turkey: KEK delegation meets Bartholomew IPresident and Secretary General of the Conference of European Churches (KEK), His Eminence Metropolitan Emmanuel of France and Reverend Guy Liagre met Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew I in Istanbul on December 3rd. "We are free from mutual hate just through dialogue. And dialogue lives only through love, which is like blood for the body. If blood stops circulating, the body will dehydrate and die. Therefore, if dialogue stops, love will die, while violence and hate will get the upper hand". KEK recalls that in the month of November Patriarch Bartholomew was awarded the highest honour by the US Congress, the Congress Gold Medal, for his extraordinary contribution to peace and understanding among religions. Moreover, knowing the commitment of the Patriarch for ecology, the KEK delegation presented a new manual of "Christian ecologic practice" "Greening the orthodox parish", a book published for believers of Orthodox tradition in the world. "I wish to underline the importance of the role which the ecumenical Patriarch plays in the dialogues between all religious traditions in Europe – said Liagre at the end of the meeting – and the role played by the Patriarchate in environmental questions and peace in our times. Moreover, I would like to point out the importance of a common reflection and ecumenical action in the struggle against growing secularisation in Europe".Germany: preparations for the Eucharistic Congress A solemn Mass celebrated in Freiburg on December 4 by the president of the German Bishops’ Conference (DBK) Msgr. Robert Zollitsch, marked the beginning of spiritual preparations for the Eucharistic Congress scheduled to take place in Cologne June 5-9 2013. "We eagerly look forward to the meeting in Cologne in the sign of the Eucharist", said Msgr. Zollitsch during the homily. The archbishop of Freiburg underlined that preparations for the event focus on "how the congress can rekindle and deepen our celebration of the Eucharistic as well as our Eucharistic spirituality. In this framework there are things that we can recover awareness of". Msgr. Zollitsch referred to the Second Vatican Council, and recalled that the Eucharistic celebration is the "fountainhead and the culmination of our whole Christian life and of our being a Church" and therefore "it should be part of a wide range of liturgical acts". This concept is "not new from the theological angle, but sometimes it is forgotten in everyday life". For this reason, "there are great expectations over the Eucharistic Congress in Cologne, and justly so". Msgr. Zolltisch conveyed his hope in a rekindling "of the practice of liturgical celebration and prayer" with the hopr that "Eucharistic spirituality, and Eucharistic behaviour may once more permeate our ecclesial life". "Just as the Advent is a time of waiting, so also the period of the preparations for the Eucharistic Congress is a time of waiting. Advent means to persevere, but not in a passive way. Rather, with inner zeal and activity. We prepare for the coming of God at Christmas time. Let’s get ready", concluded Msgr. Zollitsch, "also to rekindle and deepen our culture of the Eucharistic celebration and our behaviour towards the Eucharist".Bulgaria: radio programme for the Year of Faith "The Hour of Faith" is the title of a radio programme aimed at providing insights into religious issues which is broadcast every Saturday at 5.30pm in the village of Ores, diocese of Nikopol (Northern Bulgaria). The initiative was launched in the framework of the Year of Faith to better explain the foundations of faith and the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The issues discussed include "The Family"; "The Liturgical Year"; "Advent"; and "The Pastoral Letters of Blessed Eugenio Bossilkov", a Bulgarian martyr. Every episode has different guests: priests, religious, families and catechists depending on the subject chosen. All this is accompanied by Christian-inspired music. "We were wondering how to reach out to those who, for various reasons, do not participate in parish life, and we thought we could use the national local radio station" Bozena Novoselec, Sisters of Charity of Saint Vincent de Paul, responsible for the radio programme and for youth ministry, told SIR Europe. In this way, the conferences and reflections we offer can also be heard by the sick and by those who cannot go to church. And for all other people they will be an opportunity to deepen their faith". "We live in a country where many people do no use the Internet – Sister Novoselec said – and we have placed some boxes in key places in which people can drop anonymous questions about faith and the Church". The radio audience is quite good at the moment.

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