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On the feast of the Sacred Heart, June 7, the Catholic Church in Turkey was consecrated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus in St. John’s Cathedral, Izmir.

Monsignor Marek Solczyński, apostolic nuncio to Turkey, presided over the ceremony and was surrounded by almost all the bishops of the country’s four Catholic communities —  Latin, Armenian, Syriac, and Chaldean. Also present was Father James Buxton of Izmir’s Anglican Church.Father Alessandro Amprino, chancellor of the Archdiocese of Izmir, had the idea for the consecration. He will be representing the Turkish Catholic Church in Quito, Ecuador, from Sept. 8–15 at the 53rd International Eucharistic Congress, the theme of which will be: “Fraternity to Heal the World: You Are All Brothers and Sisters (Mt 23:8).”

Amprino explained that when he saw the enthusiasm and current spiritual fruits of this consecration in Ecuador, his heart was filled with the wish to offer the same opportunity to the Church in Turkey. He proposed it to the CET (Turkish Episcopal Conference) as an initiative for the national Eucharistic year of the Catholic Church in Turkey, organized this year in conjunction with the Quito Congress.

Three events will take place at the national level, one for each diocese: a spiritual retreat for religious in Iskenderun, the consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus in the Cathedral of St. John the Apostle in Izmir (which just took place), and the conclusion of the national Eucharistic year in Istanbul. 

As for the choice of the Izmir cathedral named after St. John, it was St. John the Apostle who laid his head against the heart of Jesus during the Last Supper.

The homily was given by Monsignor Martin Kmetec, archbishop of Izmir’s Roman Catholics, whose mandate as president of the CET was renewed the previous day.

After Communion, everyone knelt before the altar to adore the Eucharist, which was exposed there. The hymn “Pange Lingua” was sung, followed by silent adoration. Next, the litanies of the Sacred Heart were prayed.

Then, in unison with the whole assembly, the nuncio read the prayer of consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the celebration ended with a Eucharistic blessing.

By Nathalie Ritzmann

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