Almaty (Agenzia Fides) - "During the Assembly of the Bishops' Conference of Kazakhstan, we planned the celebrations to mark the twentieth anniversary of the visit of St. John Paul II (September 2001 - September 2021). We believe it is right to commemorate this historic moment with a big event. Circumstances forced us to meet online, but we were still able to continue the pastoral work for the future. We talked about how the Church can provide support to the people in need due to the pandemic. The Kazakh Church seeks to overcome this difficult phase with optimism and joy, giving thanks to God and following the paths that He shows us". This is what Mgr. José Luis Mumbiela Sierra, Bishop of Almaty and President of the Bishops' Conference of Kazakhstan told Agenzia Fides, illustrating some of the contents of the recent Assembly of bishops.
All the Ordinaries of Kazakhstan also took part in the meeting and the Apostolic Nuncio, His Exc. Bishop Francis Assisi Chullikatt, spoke in the introductory part of the Assembly. As specified in the note released by the Bishops' Conference and sent to Agenzia Fides, during the meeting the Bishops also spoke of the mass media as a means of spreading the Good News of the Gospel in Kazakhstan and of issues related to the translation, currently in progress, of theological and liturgical texts in the Kazakh language.
The note further highlights that "the Bishops consider it appropriate not to forget the sad date of 18 November 1920, when the Soviet Union took the fateful decision to legalize abortion". In order to accompany that memory with an act of repentance, the Archdiocese of Saint Mary in Astana organized a special moment of prayer.
The Kazakh bishops exhort all the faithful "so that, despite the current sanitary and epidemiological conditions, they do not lose their zeal and desire to participate in the sacraments, where local conditions allow it. We all remember the example of our brothers and sisters in the difficult times of the early Church, when they often said: 'Without Sunday we cannot live' ", the bishops conclude. According to official data provided by the Kazakh Ministry of Foreign Affairs, out of a total population of 17 million, about 26% are Christians, and 1% Catholics. The presence of Catholics in Kazakhstan is divided into 4 dioceses, for a total of 70 parishes. There are 91 priests including 61 diocesan and 30 religious. (LF-PA) (Agenzia Fides, 23/11/2020)