SWEDEN – Life of Faith and Mission of Chaldean Catholics in Northern Europe

Götheborg (Agenzia Fides) – What does it mean to be Catholic in a Scandinavian Country, in a context with a Lutheran majority, but also of widespread atheism? And what are the missionary challenges of a “minority within a minority” such as the faithful of the Chaldean rite? What message does such an ancient Church, holder of the liturgical language closest to that spoken by Jesus, send to the modern Western world and to the faithful of the Middle Eastern diaspora?

Reached by Agenzia Fides in his office in Götheborg, Sweden, Father Rayan Atto, Rector of the Chaldean mission since the summer of 2018, tries to answer these questions and offer a perspective of witness and evangelical presence rooted in a world far from Iraq and with such different traditions.

“In Sweden – says Father Ryan Atto – there are about 120,000 Catholics, including many different rites, while the Swedish Lutheran Church has 7 million faithful. We can say that there are Catholics in all regions of Sweden and that the Church has about ten spiritual centers such as parishes, places of retreat or formation. The community is made up of a number of locals and a significant number of Poles, Ukrainians, who come from some other European countries and, of course, a large number of Eastern-rite Catholics. According to the latest surveys, on the basis of the families followed, we Chaldeans are between 20/25 thousand, there are Maronites, Syrians and Armenian Catholics and Melkites, the latter have recently increased thanks to arrivals from Syria” […] (- continues)
(Agenzia Fides, 9/10/2021)

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