POLAND – Belarusian bishops meet Church benefactors in Warsaw
The Catholic bishops of Belarus made a short visit to Warsaw to thank the largest institutions that have been helping the Church in Belarus for many years. These include the Pontifical Association of Aid to the Church in Need, the German aid association Renovabis, the USCCB Subcommittee on the Church in Central and Eastern Europe and the organization Porticus.
In addition to representatives of the above organizations, the Belarusian bishops met the Secretary General of the Polish Bishops’ Conference, Msgr. Arthur Mizińskim, and the Office Director of the association Aid to the Church in the East, Fr. Leszek Kryża.
Individual bishops of Belarus frequently meet with their benefactors. However, this visit was an opportunity for all the Bishops of Belarus to meet with support organizations.
Mgr. Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz, President of the Bishops’ Conference of Belarus and Archbishop Metropolitan of Minsk-Mahilyow, explained that the aid received in Belarus is used for works such as the construction of churches, charity work, educational programs, book publication, etc. International organizations also provide assistance in the form of scholarships for students.
The Bishop of Pinsk, Mgr. Antoni Dziemianko, observed that in 1991, the Diocese of Pinsk had only three native priests and sixteen parishes. Today, it has 80 parishes and pastoral points, 50 priests, 10 religious congregations and an inter-diocesan seminary. However, he said more than ten churches still need to be built in his diocese to enable all Catholics to gather and pray together.
Although Belarus and other former Soviet republics gained their religious freedom after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Church’s infrastructure had been destroyed. Archbishop Kondrusiewicz explained the need for outside help, saying it was difficult for them to rebuild and restore the faith with their exteremely limited resources.