A Vehicle for Pastoral Work in Kyrgyzstan
Up until 1991, Kyrgyzstan was a Soviet republic. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, this country – which lies in Central Southern Asia, bordering on China in the southeast – gained its independence. It has a population of approximately 6.3 million people from various different ethnic groups in an area of 78,000 square miles. Roughly 75% of the population is Muslim, and while most of the Kyrgyz Muslims are generally tolerant, there has been a very recent tendency among younger Muslims towards increasing radicalization.
Of the remaining population, close to 20% are Russian Orthodox, while the remaining 5% belong to a range of different religious groups. Catholics make up only a tiny minority, most of whom have Polish, Ukrainian or German roots. There are just three regular parishes, plus a further 20 smaller communities where the Catholic faithful gather. Sometimes there may be only a single Catholic family in a village – far removed from their fellow Catholic believers.
The Apostolic Administration of Kyrgyzstan has six priests, one religious Brother and five religious Sisters serving there. In addition to its pastoral work in the parishes, the Catholic Church also runs a number of institutions for handicapped children, orphans and victims of drugs and alcohol abuse.
The priests and religious Sisters have to travel long distances in challenging climatic conditions in order to serve the people. Much of the country is mountainous, and the long winters bring with them bitter cold, snow storms and avalanches. The road conditions are often very poor and many places are difficult to reach.
The priests make every effort to reach even the most isolated and distant members of the Catholic faithful, so a robust and powerful vehicle is indispensable for their work here. But most of the cars available for pastoral work are at least 10 years old and some even more than 20.
Father Adam Malinowski works in the Parish of Dzalalabad tätig. At least once a week he has to drive to the town of Osh, to visit his small chapel and his little Catholic flock there. He is also very committed to his pastoral and charitable work at the children‘s center on the shores of Lake Yssykköl, which is no less than 600 miles away.
His existing car has to spend more and more time in the repair shop, and soon may stop working completely. We want to be able to help him with $33,000 for a new and more reliable car.
Will you help provide Father Malinowski with a vehicle so that he can reach his parishioners and those in need in Kyrgyzstan?
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