Would you travel six hours to meet God?
Young Venezuelan Luis Piña lives in Turkey, a beautiful country he fell in love with. However, it presents a great challenge to his faith: difficulty going to Mass.
Piña is participating in World Youth Day 2023 from Aug. 1-6 in Lisbon, Portugal. The young man spoke with ChurchPOP Español about his experience as a Catholic in Turkey.
An Hours-Long Journey to Attend Mass
Piña fell in love with Turkey, where he lives due to internships. Although, it is “it is quite difficult to practice faith” in Turkey, “because the nearest church is three hours from home, something that never happened” to him “in Latin America and Europe.”
He said that in Venezuela, there are Catholic churches three blocks from his residence, but in Turkey, “building community is quite difficult, and it is highly valued when you are far away.”
“You feel like you are just a small grain in the middle of a crowd of people who believe or have a different faith,” he added.
Piña stressed that despite everything, he tries going to Istanbul “even if it is to spend a little while praying in front of the tabernacle.”
“Easter Week was super challenging because I traveled several times. It was six hours, that is, three hours one way, three hours back, only for Mass. It was the middle of winter, it was cold, and well, endless things. But I achieved it thanks to God,” he said.
“We can make a sacrifice, and although we think it is very big, it is small compared to the sacrifice that God made for us and all the blessings we receive,” he added.
Young People from Turkey Attending World Youth Day
Piña indicated that he hopes World Youth Day will feed him spiritually through the “community of people who believe in the same faith as me.”
He mentioned with excitement that 23 young people from Turkey will participate in the event.
Piña indicated that, although he does not know them, he will be the first to welcome the Turkish youth at the airport.