The Assumptionist Lay-Religious Alliance Takes Some Small Steps in Plovdiv

  Established in 2009, the Assumptionist Lay-Religious Alliance of Plovdiv continues to make its way little by little with regular meetings the last Sunday of each month.

This relationship between lay partners and Assumptionists, whose importance is vital for the development of the Assumptionist mission in Plovdiv and more generally throughout the Near East, needs to be strengthened.

  The real question has to do with an awareness of the need for such collaboration.

After getting started like a ball of fire (meals together, retreats, etc.), things have cooled down a bit. One sign that this isn't just the case in Plovdiv but elsewhere is that the participation of lay-people at the regular meetings of the Near Eastern Mission today is very limited.

  For this reason, it was decided that this year we would propose to our lay partners here in Plovdiv the consideration of a draft letter concerning the Alliance that could be presented at the next meeting of the Near Eastern Mission, scheduled to be held at the beginning of July here in Plovdiv.

  The letter would be based on the apostolic letter of Pope John Paul II Orientale Lumen. As the title suggests, this letter is dedicated to the Churches of the Eastern rite and to the discovery of the wealth which these churches bear.

   This reflection will be under the direction of Fr. Gillier, who is in charge of the lay-religious group in Plovdiv, with the assistance of Fr. Claudio Molteni.

However, before plunging into the reading of Orientale Lumen, we thought it would be good to render homage to the figure of John Paul II, a Slavic Pope, with the viewing of a film retracing his life. It's the story of one of our contemporaries who personally experienced the tragedies of the Slavic peoples and all the peoples of Eastern Europe; his witness and his spiritual thought merit a particular attention on our part since we, too, are called to live as Catholics in the "East."
In spite of difficulties linked to our human weaknesses, the Lord sends us signs to show us that we should continue to strengthen the Alliance. Since the year 2000 the parish group of Plovdiv has been working with the sick, the aged, and the lonely and represents a wonderful collaboration between our Oblate sisters and Fr. Petar on the one hand, and some 10 lay partners on the other.

  In Kuklen, for the past four years, the parishioners of Fr. Daniel have taken charge of the house cleaning and are involved in the religious education program, replacing the Eucharistic Sisters who, for reasons of age and declining health, had to leave the parish.

  In Pocrovan, while Fr. Claudio is in charge of the ministry of the Word, Lioubcho exercises his diaconate taking care of the sick, the poor, and those who are alone. In Plovdiv, Kuklen and Pocrovan, the Alliance has still managed to stay afloat and the spirit of the Assumption is alive and kicking.