RUSSIA – Siberian parish finally has a proper church
The city of Usolye Sibirskoye is around 55 miles (87 km) from Irkutsk in Siberia and has a population of around 85,000.
In 1999 new life came to the town of Usolye Sibirskoye with the arrival of Carmelite priests to take over the Catholic parish there, which is dedicated to another Carmelite confrere, Father Rafael Kalinowski. In the 19th century this Polish Carmelite priest was sentenced to 10 years forced labour and deported here to Usolye Sibirskoye.
In the year 2002 a Carmelite convent was also established here. Close by there is another convent – this time belonging to the Sisters of St Albert, who run a children‘s creche which is also a refuge and a home for children in need.
The good work the Carmelite Fathers have been doing in the parish for almost 20 years now has borne good fruit, especially among the young people. Many of those who, as children, were the first to be given catechetical instruction are now having their own children baptised here and coming to Sunday Mass with their families. There has been an important deepening of the spiritual life here and the parish is now a lively one.
However, for many years the parish has only had a small chapel at its disposal, which had originally been a grocery shop. There was simply not enough space for the congregation at Mass or for providing religious instruction. The decision was therefore taken to extend the original chapel and also to build a presbytery at the same time.
ACN has helped with 50,000 Euros for this work, and Father Pawel Badzinski has written to thank us. “We are profoundly grateful for your help and we pray for all your benefactors. May God bless and protect them!“