Tashkent (Agenzia Fides) - "As every year, in June we had a meeting with all the Catholics of Uzbekistan in our church in Tashkent. The meeting was led by Bishop Clemens Pickel, of the Russian diocese of Saratov, who made the faithful reflect on the theme of prayer as a means of getting closer to God, with catechesis and sharing in small groups. I believe it was an important opportunity of growth for all participants, who will benefit not only in their personal spiritual paths, but also in everyday practical life". Thus the Apostolic Administrator of Uzbekistan, Franciscan Fr. Jerzy Maculewicz, talks about the moment experienced by the Catholic community of Uzbekistan to conclude the activities of the fraternal year before the summer break.
According to the Franciscan, the catechetical moment led by the Russian Bishop represented an opportunity of significant sharing for the Uzbek faithful: "Many of them reported their own experience, witnessing how important prayer is to get closer to God. In particular, the story of a couple who this year celebrates their golden wedding anniversary: the two said that for 50 years, they try to pray together every day. On Sunday we celebrated their Jubilee and during the homily I shared this story with the whole community of the faithful, to testify that, in these times in which it is rare to see such lasting marriages, it was probably the prayer of a daily couple that gave them the strength to face the difficulties of life, not alone, but together with God. I saw that this experience touched the hearts of many and helped to make people understand the practical and daily consequences of prayer".
In Uzbekistan, the Catholic faith is recognized as a "traditional religion", as well as the Islamic, Orthodox, Lutheran, Armenian and Jewish: the community of believers therefore enjoys recognition and respect from the population. In total, there are 8 priests, 4 religious and about 700 Catholics in the major cities and others distributed in small towns. (LF) (Agenzia Fides, 24/6/2019)