Kazakhstan is vast, covering an area of more than one million square miles, which is more than a quarter of the United States. A former Soviet republic, it has been an independent state since 1991.
Its population of 18 million is 70 percent Muslim. 25 percent are Christians, most of whom belong to the Russian Orthodox Church. 300,000 of Kazakhstan’s Christians are Catholic, and they are generally descended from Polish, German, Baltic, or Ukrainian people deported under Stalin.
Today, Kazakhstan is a strong example of friendly coexistence between Catholic and Orthodox Christians. The two Churches arrange several joint initiatives and conferences: for example, on January 7, Catholic Bishop Jose Luis Mumbiela Sierra met with Orthodox Metropolitan Alexander in honor of Orthodox Christmas. They exchanged gifts and discussed challenges that their communities presently face.
These challenges are most keenly understood by the 12 young men preparing for ordination in Kazakhstan’s sole Catholic seminary. There are only 100 priests for the entire country, making it difficult to serve 300,000 widely dispersed Catholics. Committed novices are vital.
The seminary has asked ACN to help provide reading materials, so that future priests can enjoy a solid, well-rounded education. We have agreed to give $1,700.
Will you join us in supporting Kazakhstan’s eager and devoted seminarians? We are sure they will remember you in their prayers.
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