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Kazakhstan: Small Catholic Community Grows

Growth is Both Interior and Exterior

“A mission can grow from different points of view, not only numerically: I believe that the Church of Kazakhstan in recent years is affected by a process of development that touches many aspects, and that perhaps in the future will lead to a structural growth”. This is what Mgr. Josè Louis Mumbiela Serra, Bishop of the diocese of the Holy Trinity of Almaty said in an interview with Fides News Agency released November 6, 2018.

The Bishop explained: “We are in a phase of interior and exterior growth. I believe that it is maturing on the level of understanding of the Christian faith: whereas before religion was simply linked to culture, today I notice a greater awareness and desire for knowledge in people’s faith. Then there is an ‘exterior’ growth, concerning numbers: in Kazakhstan, Catholics generally belong to non-Asian ethnic communities and tend to return to their homeland; yet in recent years I see that Christian faith is spreading even among people who do not have Catholic origins. This also concerns vocations to the priestly and religious life. There are not many seminarians, but they are a great gift.

“Thanks to this development, we try to respond by giving impetus to two other aspects, that of charity and that of communication. Caritas is becoming increasingly structured at a national level: it is important to give pastoral effectiveness to this dimension of the Church. Moreover, as an Episcopal Conference, we are starting to create an operative nucleus that can take charge of the means of social communication, so that the Church can communicate in an innovative way.”

The Kazakh Church currently has 4 dioceses, for a total of 70 parishes. There are 91 priests in the nation, including 61 diocesan and 30 religious. According to official data provided by the Kazakh Ministry of Foreign Affairs, out of more than 17 million inhabitants in the country, about 26 percent are Christians, and 1 percent of these are Catholics.

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