Auction to Benefit Church in Azerbaijan

VATICAN CITY, DEC. 11, 2003 (ZENIT.orgFides).- The tiny Catholic community of Baku, Azerbaijan, will be the beneficiary of the proceeds of this year’s Vatican charity auction.

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The Pontifical Urban University of Rome has housed the numerous artistic objects given to John Paul II and to the Vatican Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, which organized today’s event.

This is the third such auction. Proceeds from previous sales went to the children of Afghanistan, to the peoples of Mongolia, and to refugees of Angola.

Catholics in Azerbaijan are a small community, 150 people. The superior of the mission, Salesian Father Josef Daniel Pravda, said he and his little flock are very grateful for this unexpected Christmas gift, which will help to support and assist the many orphans and homeless people in Baku.

Part of the funds will go toward the construction of a new church. Work will start next year, and the church will be built in the style of the one destroyed under the Stalin regime.

The small Catholic community, in collaboration with the Red Crescent organization, runs a soup kitchen primarily for immigrant families who have fled situations of war in the Caucasus, Nagorno-Karabakh or Chechnya.

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