Support the Publication of a Catholic Newspaper in Russia
Project Code: 352-08-69
The Diocese of the Transfiguration of the Lord, which has its seat in Novosibirsk, covers an area of 780,000 square miles. Exactly how many Catholics there are is still not known, though it is known that many have Catholic roots, above all among the descendants of the German, Polish or Ukrainian or other nationalities who were deported or resettled here in Siberia in the past. That does not necessarily mean that they live as Catholics today, but simply that their forefathers were Catholics. Currently only some 10,000 people regularly attend Holy Mass on Sundays in the diocese.
There are a total of 60 parishes and 25 other localities where priests and religious Sisters live and from where they minister to the vast surrounding regions. There are some small towns or villages in which only a tiny Catholic community lives, sometimes even only a single family, with the next nearest Catholic community hundreds of miles away. It goes without saying that it is impossible to build churches in every place where such micro-communities live, and even if it were possible, there would not be enough priests to minister to them. So far, in fact, there are only 20 Catholic churches in the diocese, and in many places Holy Mass is still celebrated in the homes of the Catholic faithful.
In the vast area that makes up the Diocese of the Transfiguration of the Lord there are just 50 priests, and only 10 of these are from Russia itself. But the pastoral care of the faithful is of vital importance for the survival of the Catholic Church in the region. Otherwise there is a danger that the spiritual bond with the Church could become weakened and the faith could wither as a result. A vicious cycle could be created, for where the faith is weakened, there are fewer vocations, and where there are fewer priests, then it becomes harder to minister adequately to the faithful, with the result that still more people could drift away from the Church and the soil for native vocations shrink still further.
However, if the faithful sometimes have to make do for lengthy periods without priests, then at least the Church can reach out to them in other ways, in this case by means of the Catholic newspaper currently published by the diocese, namely the Siberian Catholic Newspaper. It is the only printed Catholic newspaper published in the whole Russian territory. It is published twice yearly in an edition of 3,000 copies and is read not only in the Diocese of the Transfiguration of the Lord but also in the second Siberian Diocese of Saint Joseph, in Irkutsk. It is sent above all to Catholic religious communities, libraries and pastoral centers, where it is read by many of the Catholic faithful. There is also an online version at http://sibcatholic.ru
The newspaper reports among other things on current events, both in the local church and in the Vatican, but it also covers such topics as priestly vocations, major figures like Mother Teresa, and the importance of principal feasts in the Church. For Catholic faithful who live scattered across this vast region, and who sometimes feel very far away from the center of the universal Church, it gives a sense of togetherness and of connection with the universal Church. The newspaper also has a section for children and young people. Altogether it represents an important means of articulating the unity of the Catholic Church in Siberia and in Russia.
ACN has been a regular supporter of this initiative, and this year we are helping again with its publication with a contribution of $8,200. Its publisher, Deacon Vladimir Degtyarev, wrote to us saying: “We are infinitely grateful for your help, without which publication would be impossible.”
This project is an example of our work. Your donation will be attributed either to this or to another similar project that accords with the pastoral needs that ACN witnesses.