Archbishop Tomasz Peta

The Society of Kazakhstan Maintains Solidarity During Pandemic

Interview with Archbishop of Nur-Sultan

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The society of Kazakhstan is accustomed to very hard times in the history of this country, such as in the times of Stalinism. The epidemic causes great social anxiety, but people show the spirit of solidarity – stresses the metropolitan of Nur-Sultan, the capital of Kazakhstan, Archbishop Tomasz Peta.

Archbishop Peta informs that in Kazakhstan, as in other countries, serious restrictions on the movement and functioning of workplaces have been introduced. There is a state of emergency. The largest cities are under quarantine, you cannot leave or enter them. Schools and universities operate only online. People can only go to a doctor, a pharmacy or a shop for food.

“Despite all this difficult situation, due to the epidemic, the Catholic Church in Kazakhstan is still alive. Restrictions mean that the faithful participate mainly in Masses and spiritual services through broadcasts from Karaganda. At Easter, there were only single people in our cathedral at Masses. There are also those who come to ask for confession and Holy Communion, which the faithful throughout the diocese receive on their knees unless someone is ill, and only to the mouth. Thanks to the participation of priests and nuns, the 24-hour adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, which has already lasted 18 years in the capital’s cathedral, was not interrupted; it began on 14 April 2002, as a result of the visit of St. John Paul II, which took place in September 2001” – says the Metropolitan of Nur-Sultan.

He added that the Kazakh authorities, due to closed borders, are extending visas on the spot, without the need to go to their countries. Under normal circumstances, foreign priests and nuns have to travel to their own countries every year to extend visas. “The epidemic has stopped 3 priests and 3 nuns in Poland, who cannot return to Kazakhstan. We are waiting for their return, they are very much needed here. During this time, the sisters of Mother Teresa of Calcutta are helping those in need. The society of Kazakhstan, a country nine times bigger than Poland, is used to very hard times, as in the period of Stalinism and deportations. The current situation, although difficult, is not the worst. There is a spirit of solidarity among the people” – underlines Archbishop Peta.

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Paweł Rytel-Andrianik

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