Slovakian Priest Reviving a Parish in Russia

BRIANSK, Russia, JULY 2, 2003 ( A Slovakian priest is working to restore a Catholic parish in this southern Russia city, even before it has a regular pastor.

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Many «people in Russia, after the decades of materialism … [have] no idea of the sacred; they do not have the habit of prayer, and make no distinction between going to Mass or to the theater,» explained Father Jan Hermanovsky, 68.

Ordained in Italy 30 years ago, Father Hermanovsky carried out his pastoral activity, until 1995, in Florence, since he was unable to return to his native country.

Now, the priest will go to Russia to reopen the parish of Briansk, where there are numerous Catholics, especially of Polish origin, the Italian weekly Toscana Oggi reported.

The parish’s former Catholic church, long converted into apartments, would be hard to recover, Father Hermanovsky said.

«So I have preferred to purchase a private house for purposes of worship. It still does not have external signs characterizing it as a Church, but we will soon place the cross and an image of the Virgin on the facade,» he said.

He added: «We are in Russia to do good, with the certainty that, by doing good, we all grow.»

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