Expansion of the Catholic Parish Center in Tomsk, Russia
The Catholic Parish of the Transfiguration of the Lord in West Siberia is a thriving community. Located in the city of Tomsk, Sundays see Mass attendance of close to 350 people and, unlike in many other places, the congregation includes not only mainly women and children but also many men. In addition, every Sunday there are five or six children’s and youth groups and two adult groups who come for catechetical instruction. There is also a Catholic secondary school – one of only two Catholic schools in the whole of Russia – and the local diocesan Caritas has a strong support network for families in difficulties.
At the same time the parish offers a home for foreign students living and studying in this large city, including many from Vietnam, Italy and Poland. There are lively and friendly contacts with the local Russian Orthodox Church, and each summer the Catholics and Orthodox together organize a joint holiday camp, in addition to the many meetings and activities held throughout the year. Finally, the parish also has an excellent church choir, which is known to music lovers throughout the region.
All these many activities require suitable premises. Until recently, the situation was difficult and a great deal of improvisation was necessary. But then the parish was handed a building that had already once served, back in the late 19th century, as a Catholic children’s home. It is ideal for the needs of the parish, but first of all it needed to be converted and renovated. ACN gave $11,100 towards the cost of completing the interior modifications.
Finally, on October 6, 2019, the parish center in Tomsk was finally commissioned and solemnly blessed. Now all the regular Sunday catechetical sessions are held here, with courses for children, young people and adults, and the building at the same time serves as a retreat center, with the possibility of accommodation for Catholics traveling from other towns or distant villages. At the same time, the local Caritas has now been able to extend its support and counseling services for those in need.
We have received a thank-you letter from the parish: “There was a great celebration in our parish. Without your help, we could not have done this.”
We want to pass on these thanks to all our benefactors whose generosity made it possible to help complete this work!
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