Atyrau (Agenzia Fides) - "During the Last Supper, our Lord gave us the commandment of love: "As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another" (John 13: 34-35). If we want to be witnesses of Jesus in the world, we must do nothing but follow these words daily. They should become a guideline for all the actions we take in the Church. We want to be faithful to these words: this is how our Church, renewed daily by the Eucharist, can be a true sign of justice, freedom, peace and love". This was confirmed by a message sent to Agenzia Fides, signed by Mgr. Dariusz Buras and Fr. Lukasz Niemec, respectively Apostolic Administrator and Vicar General of Atyrau, in Kazakhstan. The letter comes on the occasion of the celebrations for the twentieth anniversary of the Apostolic Administration of Atyrau, established by John Paul II on 7 July 1999.
"We started the celebrations for this important anniversary - reads the letter sent to Fides - last July 7th. Since that day, we have embarked on a spiritual journey, accompanied by the figure of Father Vladislav Bukovinsky, the apostle of Kazakhstan proclaimed blessed in 2016. He was a prisoner in this country during the communist period. After his release he had the opportunity to return to his homeland in Poland, but remained in Karaganda to serve the local Catholics. Although the Blessed only passed once in our territory, precisely in the city of Aktobe, for us he remains an example, and this is why we are dedicating each month to one of his virtues". On November 9, a solemn mass was also celebrated at the church of Atyrau, which included all the bishops of Kazakhstan, some members of other Churches in Central Asia and local parishioners.
The Administrator and the Vicar report: "In these 20 years we have lived very important moments, for example those related to the opening of Churches or pastoral centers. Over the years, in cities like Atyrau, Kulsary, Uralsk, Aktobe and Khromtau, we rejoiced because the Lord gave visible signs to his Church, giving rise to places where people could gather to hear the Word, be together and live the sacraments". Other occasions of joy were the two priestly ordinations of 2017 and 2019: "Father Ruslan Mursaitov was the first local priest of the Apostolic Administration of Atyrau. This year God gave us a second priest, Filipino father Patrick Napal".
Currently the apostolic administration of Atyrau is composed of 6 parishes located in 4 regions of western Kazakhstan and led by 15 priests and 7 nuns: "The number of parishioners is constantly evolving. There are about 500 local Catholics present in western Kazakhstan, to which are added the many foreigners who come to work in this area and participate in the life of the Church", they conclude. (LF) (Agenzia Fides, 15/11/2019)