The Diocese of Saint Joseph in Irkutsk, in eastern Siberia, is geographically speaking the largest diocese in the world. With an area of almost 3.86 million square miles, it is actually larger than the United States! Scattered thinly across this vast region are 50,000 Catholics, ministered to by some 40 Catholic priests.
For twenty years, the Redemptorists have been ministering to the Catholic Parish of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in the western Siberian city of Kemerovo. The three priests are assisted by four religious Sisters of the Missionary Sisters Servants of the Holy Spirit. The parish is very active: Holy Mass is celebrated every day, Eucharistic …
In all this unimaginably vast territory there are just 50 priests or so ministering to a widely scattered population of 50,000 or so Catholic faithful. Often these are no more than tiny communities, in some cases just a single Catholic family, with the next nearest Catholic community hundreds if not thousands of miles away.