SLOVAKIA – New community centre is a hub for pastoral care and parish activities
The parish of St Stephen in Kamenicanad Cirochou has around 2,600 Catholic faithful. It is situated in eastern Slovakia, just around 22 miles (35 km) from the Ukrainian border. In comparison with other parts of the country, this region is relatively backward economically and unemployment is high. Many children are left with only one of their parents, because their mother or father has travelled to another part of the country, or even abroad, in search of work in order to be able to feed the family. This in itself is a major problem and is often the source of great harm for the families. In addition to this, there are three Roma communities within the parish, and the pastoral and social care of the Roma people is a major challenge for the Catholic Church in Slovakia.
These are just two of the reasons why Father Peter Sepesi is particularly committed to the youth and family apostolate. He organises gatherings for children and young people and a whole range of other pastoral and social activities. However, there is a major problem in that the parish has no suitable premises for such activities so, a few years ago, the basement rooms of the presbytery were made available for this purpose. In reality these two rooms are poorly suited to the purpose, since the ceilings are low and the rooms poorly ventilated, poorly lit and also cold. Despite this, they are in daily use for it is here that the meetings of the youth groups and children‘s groups are held, the Mass servers‘ training sessions, the Confirmation classes, the rehearsals for the children‘s choir, the evangelisation courses and much more besides. If the numbers are too large, then the meetings are held in the refectory of the primary school – but then the parish has to arrange this every time with the school. There are also problems with the summer camps for the children, which the parish organises each year with tents set up in the parish gardens. For especially when the weather is bad, it is very difficult to find alternative venues for the programme and for feeding the children.
And so the parish wants to build a new building in the parish grounds that will include a hall to accommodate 60 people and other smaller rooms as well. This is where all the activities of the parish would take place in future. Father Peter has asked us to help for the construction of this pastoral centre, and we have promised him 50,000 Euros.