Every summer the picturesque, mountainous area on the shores of Lake Issyk-kul in Kyrgyzstan, where the Jesuits run a pastoral centre, becomes the place of several meetings and camps for various groups.
This year, the third edition of the astronomical camp has taken place. Talented young people from schools from the Jalal-Abad area in the south of Kyrgyzstan are invited to participate. 90 young people came to Issyk-kul, accompanied by their physics teachers. Under the supervision of the professional astronomers Fr Adam Malinowski SJ from Poland, who has been involved in the field of astronomy for years, as well as volunteers from the British Jesuit Mission and the German Jesuit Mission, the teenagers observed the night sky full of stars.
All of the participants (students and teachers) are Muslims, mostly from the religiously radical areas of Kyrgyzstan. It is difficult to overestimate the importance of such meetings: while we do not expect participants to become Christians, we hope that in future they will have a more friendly attitude towards the Christianity. The main task was to show the truth of the words of the decree of the I Vatican Council: “God, the beginning and end of all things, can be known with certitude by the natural light of human reason”. The touching space and the silence of the cosmos during the night observations were a confirmation of this statement.
In addition to camps related to education, we organize holidays for children with additional support needs, children from orphanages and poor families. Some events are organized in conjunction with the Kyrgyz social welfare structures. We are very grateful to those who help us with the successful organization of the camps!