The Catholic bishops of Belarus have come to Warsaw for a short visit. On January 24th and 25th, they met with representatives of the German aid association Renovabis, the Pontifical Association of Aid to the Church in Need, the USCCB Subcommittee on the Church in Central and Eastern Europe, and the organization Porticus. These are the largest institutions that have been helping the Church in Belarus for a long time.

During their visit to Poland, the Byelorussian Bishops met, among others, 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. On January 25th, there will be a meeting with the major institutions that have supported the Church in Belarus for many years.

The President of the Bishops’ Conference of Belarus, the Archbishop Metropolitan of Minsk-Mahilyow, H.E. Msgr. Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz, stresses that the aid received in Belarus is used for works such as the construction of churches, charity work, educational programs, book publication, etc. Special assistance is given by international organizations in the form of scholarships for students.

For instance, 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 in Pinsk, observed Msgr. Antoni Dziemianko, Bishop of Pinsk, who points out that, in his diocese, more than ten churches still need to be built so that people gather to pray together.

– After the collapse of the Soviet Union, when Belarus and other former Soviet republics gained their religious freedom, it was difficult for them to rebuild what had been destroyed, Archbishop Kondrusiewicz said to KAI, explaining the need for outside help. He acknowledged that there are frequent meetings of individual bishops of Belarus with benefactors. However, the present encounter was an opportunity for all the Bishops of Belarus to meet with support organizations.

In the near future, there will be a collect in the United States intended precisely for the Church in the East. The USCCB Subcommittee on the Church in Central and Eastern Europe, which funds projects in 28 post-communist countries to build the pastoral capacity of the Church, and to rebuild and restore the faith in these countries. The funds will be collected on Ash Wednesday, 1 March 2017.

KAI / Episkopat.pl

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