The testimony of the Turkish Jesuit Antuan Ilgit, the only Catholic priest in one of the cities most devastated by the earthquake: «While we are committed to bringing help as best we can, there are still many people, but many, under the rubble. With Caritas Anatolia we will use everything for those in need, without making any discrimination”
The terrible tragedy of the earthquake in Turkey and Syria is also severely affecting the Christian communities who live in these countries. From Iskenderun, one of the most affected Turkish cities, we relaunch this post written tonight on his Facebook profile by Father Antuan Ilgit, a Turkish Jesuit, the only Catholic priest present in the city. A testimony of the devastation but also of the strength of solidarity in a deeply wounded land. The photograph – posted by Fr. Antuan itself – is the orthodox church of Iskenderun devastated by the earthquake.
Dear friends, here I am to update you a bit.
After celebrating Mass with the nuns and with those who took refuge here, I immediately started looking for help also because we lacked drinking water and gas to cook the little pasta and ingredients to make some soup to distribute.
I’ve identified a place where the cell phone picks up quite well. I walk for 10 minutes and as soon as I get there your text messages arrive too! I have to admit: it’s nice to be connected to a “network” of friends when facing situations that get over you! The network that becomes the Body!
I immediately tried to contact the sub-prefect of the city, Mr. Murat Sefa Demiryürek, with whom we were classmates at the university, to ask for drinking water and food. After a few hours together with Luca Bombelli we were already with him to collect the necessary. He himself very humbly distributed aid, which arrives from all over Turkey, to those in need without any discrimination. On our return to the episcope seeing the smiles of the people is unspeakable.
Our Christian communities of the Vicariate, especially those of Mersin, my friends Mete, Shant, Barkın, Batuhan and countless others are bending over backwards to help us by also sending money; from the few drops we had a sea. With Caritas Anatolia we will use everything for those in need, us too, without making any discrimination.
Well, then our toilets were full of… and they were unusable. Do you know what our good nuns did? They went to collect the sea water, which reached the roads due to the tsunami effect, to clean the toilets and make them accessible again. They are contemplative nuns!!!
Then there is always breaking latest news, the focolarina, who works like an ant, has a word of consolation for everyone.
We are well aware that even our bishop Paolo (Bizzeti, Apostolic Vicar of Anatolia ed) together with AMO-Friends of the Middle East is working in Italy to better channel your charity expressed in a thousand ways. It’s nice!
But while we are committed to all this there are still many people, but many, under the rubble! In some places they have just just started digging! We get the news that the Protestant pastor Hakan and his wife are also there to contemplate the face of God, while the rescuers reach for their bodies.
The fire in the port is devastating and they can’t put it out!
The electricity lights are returning to the neighborhood but we are still in the dark perhaps because the Cathedral which is no longer there and has buried all the electrical system when it collapsed. In our courtyard we pray the Rosary in a whisper, it is possible even without electricity… and in the meantime Jülide our heroic cook and Selma G. bring me good news: two cars from Istanbul are about to arrive with some help! They are young people who prune the aid sent by Msgr. Palinuro, the Apostolic Vicar of Istanbul.
This is how God makes himself present among us… we must seek him out and find him in all things! We are not alone, and tomorrow will be better than today.
Good evening. A big hug to each of you and blessings
To support Iskenderun and those who suffer from the earthquake in the Apostolic Vicariate of Anatolia we point out these fundraising channels indicated by Msgr. Bizzeti and also mentioned by Father Antuan in his post