Archivio della Custodia di Bielorussia dell'Ordine dei Frati Minori Cappuccini
Minsk (Agenzia Fides) - The celebration of the consecration of the new parish church of Saint Francis of Assisi in Minsk, capital of Belarus, ended today, Saturday May 20, at the end of the morning. The solemn liturgical concelebration, presided over by the Apostolic Nuncio in Belarus, Archbishop Ante Jozić, was attended by many bishops and took place in the presence of diplomatic representatives of various nations. "This new church - explains the parish priest, friar Jan Sadoŭski OFMCap - is important, because it is a sign that the Catholic community is alive, that it wants to grow and that it has a future. That is why this church becomes the home of our parish, where God awaits each one of us". During the liturgy, celebrated on the day of liturgical memory of Saint Bernardino of Siena, who also belonged to the great Franciscan family, the altar and the church building were consecrated, and the parish hymn, composed by two local musicians, was sung for the first time.
The history of the parish, which today has more than 500 faithful, began with its creation in 1992. Since 1996, it has been entrusted to the newly installed community of Capuchin friars. Thanks to the patient and constant efforts of the friars, it was possible in 2014 to begin construction work on the church and the annexed buildings, which are now largely completed. The parish complex, located in the new residential area in the northeast of the capital, includes various spaces at the service of the community of friars and Catholics of the parish: the church, with an area of about 220 square meters, an adjacent chapel of about 70 square meters, and the Capuchin convent, whose 580 square meters house on the ground floor the sacristy, the library, the parish office, three catechism rooms, the kitchen and the refectory of the community ; on the first floor, ten rooms for the friars and their possible guests, the office of the guardian father and a common room.
Currently, the Custody of Belarus of the Order of Capuchin Friars Minor has about thirty friars, including five young brothers in formation.
The friars not only serve in 13 parishes in the three dioceses of Belarus, but also in a Belarusian parish in the Archdiocese of Vilnius, Lithuania, and in the Order's mission in Georgia. In Minsk, the friars currently work in the Curia of the Custody, in the Caritas structures of the Archdiocese of Minsk-Mogilëv, in the parish of Saint Francis, in the pastoral care of students, in the formation of catechists of the archdiocese and in family pastoral care. In the capital, located in the center of the country and from where all the main Belarusian communication routes depart, there is also the center for the coordination of pastoral activities and the continuous formation of the friars.
Minsk has around two million inhabitants, 15% of whom are Catholics. However, churches made available to local Catholic communities are rare, especially in the most remote areas of the city, which are also those with the highest population density. (CD) (Agenzia Fides, 20/5/2023)