Sunday, February 5, 2012

Mass in Istanbul

After a quick Internet search I was able to locate a handful of churches in Istanbul with English masses. I chose St. Esprit because the review described it is a nice, small cathedral preferred by popes. What the internet didn't fully explain is the difficulty to find it. Thank goodness for the nun in her habit walking down the street. I figured she might be headed in the cathedral's direction. I cautiously approached her with a "Do you speak English?" When she shook her head no, I took a chance with "Parlez vous Francais?" because of the cathedral's French name. I was met with a friendly smile and pleasant conversation. We chatted for several blocks until she led me through an unmarked gate, into a secret courtyard, and through the beautiful cathedral doors.

It was so nice to be in a place with God's peace and beauty for quite prayer. Although Mass was in English strong Filipino accents from the congregation and a French accent from the priest, made day dreaming impossible. (a good thing!) The songs were familiar and, when we sang "Holy, Holy, Holy....blessed Trinity," I almost thought I was in an Anglican church. I guess that makes sense because the British Embassy is only blocks away.

This was a special church filled with joyful people from many corners of the world together for one hour. Being surrounded by beautiful artwork while listening to an inspirational homily was a nice addition. Imagine all this in the center of Istanbul!

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