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Father anthony (1)

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FR Anthony's ministry in Kyrgyzstan

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Father anthony (1)

  1. 1. Христос Воскрес! (Christ is Risen!)
  2. 2. The Former Soviet Union
  3. 3. CENTRAL ASIA
  4. 4. RELIGION IN CONTEXT: KYRGYZSTAN The population of Kyrgyzstan is 5,6 million. Of these, 34,4% are younger than 15 years old. Most Kyrgy live in rural areas, with only one third of the population residing in cities. About half of the population is engaged in agricultural activities. The largest ethnic group of the country is Kyrgyz, which makes up 73,2% of the population. Different ethnic groups include Russians (5,8%), concentrated mostly in the northern part of the country, and Uzbek (14,6%), dwelling in the South. There are more than 80 ethnic groups in the country.
  5. 5. The Religious Reality:
  6. 6. Christianity From 8 to 11% of the country’s population consider themselves to be Russian Orthodox. Other Christian groups make up a tiny minority. Most of these are Protestant churches. The Catholic Church, present in the country for at least 150 years, has traditionally been comprised of citizens with German, Polish, or Ukrainian heritage. The vast majority of Catholics emigrated to Europe or Russia over the past three decades. There are currently estimated to be between 550-1500 Catholics in the country.
  7. 7. • Why we are here: • -The Catholic Church has a history in the country; • -Papal Mission to the Society of Jesus (historical roots); • -Provides us with the opportunity to offer remarkably vast pastoral, spiritual, and educational resources in endeavoring to be faithful to the goal of the Church’s existence—the salvation and good (“flourishing”) of souls through living and sharing the light of our Faith in Jesus Christ—in the challenging context of this area.
  8. 8. HOW?
  9. 9. How? Pastoral Service of the tiny Catholic communities and continued search for ways of finding, (re)- evangelizing; catechizing and serving Christians; “Pre-evangelization” ministry with others (secularized, atheistic or passive); •Pre-evangelization through encountering students in educational/formational settings; •Pre-evangelization through witness in humanitarian assistance*; •Witness to Christian mercy and charity; •The ministry of consolation, among our own and with others. *Collaboration with wider, universal Church and organizations
  10. 10. What: --Currently, the Church is active in Talas and in Dzalal-Abad/Osh – pastoral service, modest humanitarian aid, and, occasionally, teaching of languages to college students. --In the North, pastoral service in the Capital and surrounding villages and the continued development of witness through humanitarian assistance. --Pastoral Ministry: Talas Dzalal-Abad and Osh Bishkek and wider area --Humanitarian Assistance: Issyk-Kul camps Caritas and local organization --EducationalFormational: Issyk-Kul camps;
  11. 11. Most important questions to be resolved, vis-à-vis apostolic work A.--What is the perspective for establishing and developing more fruitful pastoral, humanitarian and educational ministry in the South? Strategy for this area’s development: •Increase personnel resources from two groups: Sisters’ Congregation (Consolata) and Priests (Society of Jesus). Also, the inclusion of trained lay volunteers; •These priests and sisters will enter into the region, learn the language and become familiar with the cultural, religious and social environment (hopefully, by the end of 2018 or beginning of 2019); •They will begin the work of “pre-evangelization” by teaching and by becoming acquainted with local education and religious groups—and through appropriate involvement in humanitarian assistance. Of course, they will continue to build and serve the pastoral needs of the tiny Catholic community; •We will undertake a process of focused discernment regarding the most efficacious manner of engaging in a work that will act as a “bridge” between Christianity and the local population and its cultural and academic needs (2019-2021);
  12. 12. Work with Indian and, possibly, Korean Provinces, to strengthen this important mission
  13. 13. A. Increased visibility and depth in pastoral service of Catholics in the North.   Strategy for this area’s development:   • Strengthening of personnel (Priest arriving from Slovakia,  2018) for pastoral work in this area; • Discernment about building a church closer to the center of the  city.
  14. 14. As throughout the region, the critical need to identify, form and accompany local Christians will serve as evangelizers, catechizers and leaders of the communities (!!)
  15. 15. A. What does it mean to evangelize in the religious, social and political context in which the Church here functions (below)?  Have we effectively defined our concept of missiology and do our  lives and activities reflect and animate the convictions upon which  this concept are founded? Are our practicing Catholics evangelical  in the living out of their Faith?
  16. 16. Tensions or need for balancing between seemingly opposed values in our service: • Stability/depth needs to balanced with responsive flexibility to redirect resources, human and other; • Assimilation into the wider culture in which we find ourselves versus needs to be balanced with providing a voice of questioning, healthy critical thinking, etc.; • Sincere respect for the historical and cultural development and work at the local level needs to be balanced with the continuing need to operate in a manner consistent with our way of proceeding within the Church;
  17. 17. • …and focusing our energy on people, not on either bureaucracy nor primarily on financial arrangements; • A search for consensus needs to be balanced with clarity and a timely manner of making a decision that is difficult; • Making tough decisions needs to be balanced with allowing a difficult situation to resolve itself; • Our call to often truly find ourselves “on the frontiers” needs to be balanced with care for our health and emotional and spiritual well-being; • Trusting in God’s Providence and acknowledgement of the particular religious and cultural reality of the peoples’ in our country needs to be accompanied by the continued urgent call to work much more assertively to encourage and attract vocations to the local Church; • Keeping as priority in our attention cura personalis in affirming the desires and needs of individual Sisters and priests needs to be balanced with the good of our apostolic works.
  18. 18. IV. IGNATIAN INSTINCT: What might be our hopes –and opportunities—in the future of our work in Kyrgyzstan?    Of course, only God knows what the future holds.  However, I think our task is to  deepen the quality and focus of our service here.  We need to continue to offer “neutral,” creative, and attractive spaces for dialogue, for learning, for praying.
  19. 19. A small light in the darkness….
  20. 20. There is an evident “vacuum” in the ethical formation within the larger societies in this territory: Who forms? What are the guiding principles? What values are these principle grounded in? What role might the Church play in this ongoing dynamic in the lives of the people whom we serve? …a role that, albeit modest, will not be entirely insignificant in the lives of these people….
  21. 21. There is an evident “vacuum” in the ethical formation within the larger societies in this territory: Who forms? What are the guiding principles? What values are these principle grounded in?
  22. 22. There is an evident “vacuum” in the ethical formation within the larger societies in this territory: Who forms? What are the guiding principles? What values are these principle grounded in? --Consequences of soviet socialism remain --Materialism inherent in consumerism influences, draws --Ethnic, “tribal” identity asserts itself in society and in religion*
  23. 23. The Church fills an unmet need in the areas of formation, spirituality, education, social ministry. There is a need, expressed by those whom we serve and observed in many whom we have not yet served, for the spiritual, pastoral, and intellectual resources that the Church can offer.
  24. 24. The Role of Christians in Kyrgyzstan and Central Asia as witnesses belonging to a tiny minority of believers? How might Christians in Central Asia understand our role: A bridge, through presence and dialogue. Who are we as witnesses to religious freedom? What do we bring to this testimony? •The great humanitarian, spiritual, intellectual and cultural resources of the Christian Faith…. •…Intrinsic to this tradition, the call to be agents of reverence and reconciliation (individually and on the institution level). --Authentic reverence, founded in the conviction that there exists a bond with all, recognizing that we are created and sustained by the God of life. --The inalienable dignity of each human person.
  25. 25. --Inspired by a God Whose Trinitarian essence generates an incarnated experience eternally aimed at the reconciliation, sanctification and salvation of all of humanity – Part of this role consists in commitment to dialogue, presence (including physical proximity), compassion, and sincere humility in receiving (observing, listening, learning), in witnessing, and in sharing (caritas, prayerful accompaniment).
  26. 26. And, of course, our ongoing task is to seek to respond to the challenges to our Region, as listed above A Commitment to remain focused in the light of quickly shifting—even, occasionally worsening—situations in the societies where we serve;
  27. 27. If we wish to follow Christ closely, we cannot choose an easy, quiet life. It will be a demanding life, but full of joy. ---Pope Francis
  28. 28. СПАСИБО! (Thank You!)

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