In Turkey, the Franciscans Reach Out

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ISTANBUL, Turkey, NOV. 24, 2003 (Zenit.org).- In the wake of recent terrorist attacks in Istanbul, the Order of Friars Minor will open what it calls an "international fraternity" to help promote ecumenical and interreligious dialogue.



"Turkey has a population ... 99% Muslim and less than 1% Christian, including the Orthodox Church," the Franciscans' general curia said in a statement, citing the need to reach out to other faiths.

The project brings together friars from Mexico, France, Germany and Congo, joining three Italian friars already in Turkey.

The fraternity "is characterized by prayer, openness and a spirit of hospitality," the curia said in its statement.

"While continuing the existing parish ministry, the friars will be available for liturgical service in the various languages spoken by members of the fraternity, and for conversation and spiritual direction." The fraternity opens next Sunday.