Tashkent (Agenzia Fides) - "Prayer and charity are the key words that encompass the spirit with which the Uzbek Catholics live the Lenten period". This is what the Apostolic Administrator of Uzbekistan, Fr. Jerzy Maculewicz, OFM Conv says. "Lent began with the celebration of Ash Wednesday, a time of grace that prepares our hearts to welcome the Risen Christ. We are doing our best to involve the whole community of faithful: Father Piotr Kawa, one of my confreres, spends his weekends visiting each of the five Uzbek parishes. During these meetings, spiritual exercises are held and there is the possibility of receiving the sacrament of Reconciliation", he reports.
Furthermore, continues Fr. Maculewicz, "every Friday, the Via Crucis takes place in the city of Tashkent: we live the painful path of Christ towards Golgotha, alternating moments of meditation that are prepared every week by different groups of faithful. We repeat the Via Crucis also on Sunday, after the Eucharistic celebration, because not everyone is able to join us during the week. It is very important for us that every member of the faithful can best prepare himself for Easter".
"During this time we invite everyone to make some gesture of mercy: Lent does not mean only fasting and penance, but also charity. The exercise of almsgiving, that is, doing something good and useful for others every day, opens our hearts to welcoming others", concludes the Apostolic Administrator.
In Uzbekistan, 80% of the population profess the Islamic religion, 8% belong to the Russian Orthodox Church and the remaining part of the population adheres to minority religious beliefs. The Catholic community is distributed within five parishes that are located in the major cities of the country and has about 3,000 baptized members. There are approximately 700 active faithful in Tashkent, while the others are distributed between the cities of Samarkand, Bukhara, Urgench and Fergana. (LF) (Agenzia Fides, 27/2/2018)