With an area of over 225,000 square miles, the Archdiocese of Mary Most Holy, based in the Kazakh capital Astana (now recently renamed Nursultan) is larger geographically than the whole of Spain. In this vast country, Catholics make up only a tiny minority and, given the large distances, pastoral care is very difficult.
There are 40 priests serving in the diocese, assisted by some 70 religious Sisters belonging to various different congregations. The Sisters give religious instruction to the children, young people and adults, preparing them for reception of the Sacraments, organizing prayer and retreat days, summer holiday camps and youth meetings and caring for the sick and elderly, the lonely and the needy.
The Vincentian Sisters, who have a convent in the small town of Shortandy, 50 miles north of the capital, regularly visit people in need in the villages which within a radius of 50 or so miles. In Makinsk, further north, other Sisters of their congregation run a soup kitchen, providing up to 40 families with a hot meal each day. Some 25 children come to the Sisters’ convent every day to play, do handicrafts and be given religious instruction.
The Sisters of the Congregation of Divine Mercy accompany the priests on their visits to the villages. They have also taken into their house eight girls who are studying in the city of Petropavlovsk. They not only provide these young women with safe accommodation but also care for them, answering their questions about faith and praying together with them. Once a month they also organize youth meetings, in collaboration with the priests.
ACN has been supporting these Sisters on a yearly basis. Archbishop Tomasz Peta has written to us about them: “These religious Sisters are close to God and thereby remain indissolubly united with their fellow men. They live for the sake of other people and act as their intercessors.”
“They share in the living conditions of ordinary people, so they can understand them and pray to God on their behalf. They share their lives with all people, cooking food, tending their garden, going to market and working with their hands.”
“In wintertime they need to heat their convent and nurture and strengthen their own spiritual life and knowledge by reading spiritual literature. Since Church and State are separated, they depend entirely on the generosity and offerings of the faithful.”
“Your financial support helps to liberate them from such daily cares so that they can devote themselves entirely to their vocation.”
This year we will once again be helping all 70 religious Sisters working in the archdiocese, with a contribution of $40,100 for the support of their life and apostolate.
Will you join in supporting the life and apostolate of these religious Sisters in Kazakhstan?
We are sure they will remember you in their grateful prayers.
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