AID TO THE CATHOLIC CHURCH IN RUSSIA A Journey of Faith
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TABLE OF CONTENTS I. Bishop Kondrusiewicz II. Aid to the Catholic Church in Russia III. Condition of the Catholic Church in European Russia IV. Urgency - Why Russia? A - Words from Heaven. On July 13, 1917, Our Lady appeared in Fatima, Portugal. She told those little ones to whom she appeared B - Reconstruction of the Common Good C - It is Urgent to Work for the unity of all Christians D - "For the love of Christ impels us" E - "The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church" (Tertullian). V. Present Situation VI. If We Don't Go Who Will? Appendix: Board Members of Aid to the Catholic Church in Russia
I. Bishop Kondrusiewicz Bishop Kondrusiewicz was born in 1948 in the Region of Grodno (ByeloRussia). He studied at the seminary in Kaunas, Lithuania. He also obtained an Engineering degree from the Leningrad Polytechnical Institute. In 1980 he was ordained a priest and was appointed to two parishes in ByeloRussia where there had not been a priest for 28 years. On October 20, 1989, he was made Apostolic Administrator of Minsk, the capital of ByeloRussia. And on April 13, 1991, Bishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz was elevated to the rank of Archbishop and appointed to the post of Apostolic Administrator for the Catholics of Latin Right in European Russia, a seat which, under the communist regime, had been vacant since 1936. II. Aid to the Catholic Church in Russia With the full blessing of Archbishop Kondrusiewicz, Aid to the Catholic Church in Russia was established as a U.S. non-profit corporation on September 8, 1994 in the State of Virginia. Aid to the Catholic Church in Russia was granted final tax-exempt status on August 9, 1995. As stated in the Articles of Incorporation: "The purpose of this corporation is to raise funds and receive donations for the development of the Roman Catholic Church in Russia. The corporation will effect this end by informing and speaking on behalf of the needs of the Church in Russia, whether to private organizations, groups, or individuals and/or organizing events in order to fund the construction and progress of programs that will further the stated purpose." Furthermore, always under the sponsorship of the Roman Catholic Church and in obedience to its appointed leaders, we will seek to implement and sponsor programs that will further the Kingdom of Christ in Russia and thereby affirm the dignity of the Russian people and advance their highest aspirations. The Second Vatican Council clearly stated. "In pursuing its own salvific purpose not only does the Church communicate divine life to men but in a certain sense it casts the reflected light of that divine life over all the earth notably in the way it heals and elevates the dignity of the human person, in the way it consolidates society, and endows the daily activity of men with a deeper sense of meaning. The Church then believes it can contribute much to humanizing the family of man and its History through each of its members and its community as a whole" (Gaudium et Spes: # 40) It is a goal of Aid to the Catholic Church in Russia to assist in this humanizing effort. More specifically, ACCR is interested in focusing their efforts in several different areas: * Continued support for the formation of future priests through the seminary in Russia * Establishment of education facilities; development of educational programs; and training of teachers * Collaborating to rebuild the Church's infrastructure in Russia * Assisting media efforts to promote Christian values in Russian society, as well as supporting and encouraging publishing of written material * To be involved in programs which enhance and better the economic condition of the Russian people * To increase awareness of the needs of the Church in Russia in the Western world * To cooperate and collaborate with the pastoral needs of the Orthodox Church in Russia to all extent possible III. Condition of the Catholic Church in European Russia The Church before 1917 Christianity was introduced into Russia in the year 988 A.D., when Prince Vladimir received baptism in the Byzantine Tradition. In 1783 the first ecclesiastical structures were created by Pope Pius VI, giving birth to the Archdiocese of Mohilev, an area which extended from the Baltic Sea in the West to the Bering sea in the Far East. It was the largest Archdiocese in the world. Before 1917, there were one hundred and fifty (150) Catholic parishes in European Russia (presently 4 million sq. km.), and the total number of faithful is estimated to have been over 500,000. The Catholic Church had two functioning seminaries, one in St. Petersburg and the other in Saratov, St. Petersburg was also home to the Theological Academy and over 72 catholic schools. In Moscow alone 27 Catholic schools existed before the Revolution. The Church after 1917 "The philosophical basis of Marxism is dialectic materialism...materialism that is absolutely atheistic, and resolutely opposed to all religion." -Vladimir I. Lenin (Euvres t. XV. page 371) "The Communist party cannot look on without interest and as a neutral observer as long as religion continues to exist. But it deems it necessary to wage an incisive and systematic propaganda war against it". (Central Committee, Resolution November 10, 1954--undersigned by the Secretary General of the Central Committee, Nikita Khrushchev). After the dramatic events of October 1917 and the arrival of the brutal Bolshevik regime, the Church in Russia was relentlessly persecuted. Catholic and Orthodox were denied the liberty to worship and practice their faith. Bishops, priests, and laity were tortured and murdered in the millions for "the good of the people." Religious education ceased, and hundreds of associations were created in order to propagate atheism among the young in Russia. Thus was the faith stolen from Russia's youth. Fear and mistrust were induced even among family members. Churches were desecrated and profaned, numerous turned into museums of atheism, bread and milk factories, chicken-coupe, and offices and warehouses for the Communist propaganda machine. Perhaps the most striking example of the brutal atheism of the Communist regime, however, was the transformation of the Orthodox Cathedral of Our Lady of Kazan (located on Red Square) into public toilets. Of the 150 Catholic churches in existence all but two were completely shut down by the Communists, and all religious congregations were disbanded. In summary, through genocide and enslavement, Russia was reduced to a vast spiritual desert. IV. Urgency - Why Russia? A) Words from Heaven. On July 13, 1917, Our Lady appeared in Fatima, Portugal. She told those little ones to whom she appeared, "You have seen hell, where the souls of sinners go. It is to save them that God wants to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If you do what I tell you, many souls will be saved, and there will be peace. This war will end, but if men do not refrain from offending God another and more terrible war will begin. And when you see a night illumined by a strange and an unknown light you will know that it is the sign that God gives you that He is about to punish the world with another war and with hunger and by the persecution of the Church and the Holy Father. To prevent this, I shall come to the world to ask that Russia be consecrated to my Immaculate Heart, and I shall ask that on the first Saturday of every month Communion of reparation be made in atonement for the sins of the world. "If my wishes are fulfilled, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace; if not, then Russia will spread her errors throughout the world, bringing new wars and persecutions of the Church; the good will be martyred, and the Holy Father will have much to suffer: certain nations will be annihilated, but in the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, and she will be converted, and the world will enjoy a period of peace." (Fatima; 1917: emphasis added) B) Reconstruction of the Common Good. "I myself see Christianity today as the only living spiritual force capable of undertaking the spiritual healing of Russia" (Alexander Solzhenitsyn--"Letter to the Soviet Leaders"). "In order to establish and maintain peace in the world, there must be good order within states, and good order in the relation among states. "Good order can be established only upon the foundation of just social principles, the recognition of God as the author of human society, and the respect for the human person in accordance with the divine plan. Not the profit motive nor the utility of the state must govern social relations, but a concern for the common good. "The purpose of all social life must be the development of the personal values of man. This end can only be achieved where there is a recognition of the primacy of the spiritual and the necessary connection between law and morality. Peace is fruit of good order, tranquillity and justice within and among many nations." -Pope Pius XII "Let everyone consider it his sacred duty to count social obligations among man's chief duties today and observe them as such. For the more closely the world comes together, the more widely do men's obligations transcend particular groups and gradually extend to the whole world. This will be realized only if individuals and groups practice moral and social virtues and foster them in social living. Then, under the necessary help of divine grace, there will arise a generation of new men, the molders of a new humanity" (Gaudium et Spes; #30). C) It is Urgent to Work for the unity of all Christians. "I pray not for them, but also or those who will believe in me through their word, so, that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me. And I have given them the glory you gave me, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may be brought to perfection as one, that the world may know that you sent me, and that you loved them even as you loved me. Father, they are your gift to me." John 17:20-25 Christ wills all Christians to be one, as He is one with the Father. It is through Christian unity that ultimate peace and salvation will be won for the world. But even to this day we verify the painful division of the Church and the obstacle it poses those who seek truth and the will of God. "The restoration of unity among all Christians is one of the principal concerns of the Second Vatican Council. Christ the Lord founded one Church and one Church only. However, many Christian communions present themselves to men as the true inheritors of Jesus Christ; all indeed profess to be followers of the Lord but they differ in mind and go different ways, as if Christ Himself were divided. Certainly, such division openly contradicts the will of Christ, scandalizes the world, and damages that most holy cause, the preaching of the Gospel to every creature" (Unitatis Redintegratio; # 1). If Christians who are called by God to be a sign of fraternal love and unity are divided, how can we then effectively witness to the truth of the Gospel before the eyes of this unbelieving world? In the profession of their common faith in Christ. the Christians in Russia must stand as a witness of the unity that Christ desired. The Orthodox and the Catholic Church have a mission and a vocation to unity, a reality greatly desired by Christ, and together they must stand as witnesses to this unity. Russia, however, is the meeting place of these two sister churches and thus presents an unmistakably Providential opportunity to proclaim and realize this unity. However it is absolutely indispensable, in order to attain and perpetuate the gift of unity in the Church, that the Roman Catholic Church not merely be present in European Russia. The Roman Catholic Church must actively foster fraternal love, in every dimension of life in Russia, with all the members of the Orthodox Church, so that the painful wounds of history may be healed. "Every Kingdom divided against itself will be laid waste, and no town or house divided against itself will stand." -Matt 12:25 In addition to its obligation to realize the desires of Jesus for unity, the Church has another reason to strive for oneness in these times. The Church of the West must unite with the Church of the East, so that together they can preserve humanity from spiritual and bodily destruction. United, the Orthodox and the Roman Catholic Church must stand as a living sign of contradiction to the errors of our age. The powers of evil are leading an increasing number of souls into ruin, and a united Church must face this danger with the fullest use of its resources, both spiritual and material. But the Church cannot long continue to face its enemy while maintaining internal divisions. D "For the love of Christ impels us" So much suffering. So many terrible and agonizing moments for millions of men, women and children, unspeakable violence, hatred, and brutality unleashed on the innocent. Millions of men, women, and children suffering for over 70 years the brutality of the Communist regime. Yet somehow the Russians, the Lithuanians, the Polish, the Czechs, the Hungarians, and all the peoples under the Soviet regime, managed to keep the precious and most sacred light of the faith alive. Everything was done to destroy and efface from these peoples the image and memory of God, and yet they kept the faith. Is it possible then, that after we have witnessed their inextinguishable faith, their heroic courage, their unbreakable wills and immense desire to live, that we will not press on, gathering up all our strength, spiritual and material, to aid them in completion of what they, at such great cost, have already begun? Is it possible that, before God and the world, we, who have spoken and written, prayed and sacrificed on behalf of their freedom, will not do all that is necessary to help them secure their liberty and dignity? May the woe of St. Paul reverberate in the depths of our heart: "It is the spirit who impels us to proclaim the great works of God: "For if I preach the Gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting. For necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel!" (1 Cor 9: 16). The urgent appeal to missionary activity, delivered by the Holy Father in His encyclical letter Redemptoris Missio, echoes eloquently the warning of St. Paul: "In the name of the whole Church. I sense an urgent duty to repeat this cry of St. Paul. From the beginning of my pontificate I have chosen to travel to the ends of the earth in order to show this missionary concern. My direct contact with peoples who do not know Christ has convinced me even more of the urgency of missionary activity [...] But what moves me even more strongly to proclaim the urgency of the missionary evangelization is the fact that it is the primary service which the Church can render to every individual and to all humanity in the modern world...The number of those who do not know Christ and do not belong to the Church is constantly on the increase. Indeed since the end of the council it has almost doubled. When we consider this immense portion of humanity which is loved by the Father and for whom he sent his Son, the urgency of the Church's mission is obvious. On the other hand, our own times offer the church new opportunities in this field: we have witnessed the collapse of oppressive ideologies and political systems; the opening of frontiers and the formation of a more united world due to an increase in communications [...] God is opening before the Church the horizons of a humanity more fully prepared for the sowing of the gospel. I sense that the moment has come to commit all of the Church's energies to a new evangelization and to the mission ad gentes. No believer in Christ, no institution of the Church can avoid this supreme duty: to proclaim Christ to all peoples" (Redemptoris Missio; # 1). "Those who are incorporated into the Catholic Church ought to sense their privilege and for that very reason their greater obligation of bearing witness to the faith and to the Christian life as a service to their brothers and sisters and as a fitting response to God. They should ever be mindful that "they owe their distinguished status not to their own merits but to Christ's special grace; and if they fail to respond to this grace in thought, word and deed, not only will they not be saved. but they will be judged more severely" (Redemptoris Missio; #11). Presently, there are approximately 500,000 Latin Rite Catholic brethren who are awaiting the reconstruction of the spiritual and sacramental life of the church. We owe a duty of moral spiritual and financial support, to these long suffering brethren who have lost much for the faith. E "The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church" (Tertullian). How can one respond when confronted with the sacrifice and love that the peoples of Russia endured for our salvation? For we know by faith that Christians are members of the mystical body of Christ, and that if one part suffers, the whole body suffers. The Russian people have given everything for their faith, including their lives, and yet they lost nearly all of their Christian patrimony. Though they struggled in secret and in great pain to preserve the faith, Russia is at this hour, as Archbishop Kondrusiewicz has affirmed, a spiritual desert. If we truly believe we form one mystical body in Christ, we must believe nothing less than that the Russian people have been martyrs for us. We must believe that their blood has nourished our Church, that it has given us priests, bishops, and millions of lay faithful: that it has given us parishes and churches in the thousands: that it has given us schools in which to teach our children the truth. Moreover, it has given us the temporal justice and harmony we have come to take for granted. In other words, we owe the Russian people a great debt of love and suffering. The burning question is, therefore, how we can repay this debt. The answer is that we must repay by giving in the same measure as we have received. Life for life. To the gift of life that they have made for our sake, we must now respond with ardent prayer, imploring Our Lord that we too may be willing and able to sacrifice and die to self on their behalf. V Present Situation On April 1, 1991, the Catholic Church in European Russia consisted of six parishes and six priests. In three short years the Church has shown signs of recovery. -There are currently fifty-eight (58) priests from fifteen (15) different countries exercising their ministry in the apostolic territory of European Russia (4 million Sq. miles). -In the fall of 1991 the St. Thomas Aquinas college was founded in Moscow to provide lay students with cathechetical training with a special emphasis on the social doctrine of the Church. The institute is currently training 300 students. -Also in 1991 a branch of the Caritas organization was opened to aid the poor and evangelize through works of mercy. -More than 60 parishes are now registered in European Russia. -In 1991 Radio Maria, a Catholic radio station in Moscow. began broadcasting a daily one hour program. -Truth and Life, a Catholic monthly published by Bishop Kondrusiewicz is now serving as the mouthpiece for the needs, hopes and activities of the Catholic Community. -On September 1, 1993, the first post 1917 seminary was opened in Moscow and dedicated under the title, "Regina Apostolorum" (Queen of the Apostles). While the Church in Russia has made notable advancements in recent years it still faces tremendous difficulties: -Current living conditions of seminarians in Russia is very poor. -Russia now counts over 60 Catholic parishes, however, only eight church buildings are actually owned by the Church. -The St. Thomas Aquinas College is still without an adequate facility, and most students are forced to take correspondence courses. -Of the fifty-eight priests in European Russia only two are Russian. VI - If we do not go--who will? Russia is enduring at the present time a very difficult period of transition and we must seek to assist the reconstruction of the Russian moral, economical, social and cultural edifice. "Time has finally run out for communism. But its concrete edifice has not yet crumbled. And we must take care not to be crushed beneath its rubble instead of gaining liberty" (Alexander Solzhenitsyn). We must realize that the threat of Communism is far from over, and that the ideology and the presence of Communism reigns still in Russia and elsewhere. The temptation to return to the Communist regime is still present, and we must be aware that many, given the extremely difficult transition, may revert interiorly and exteriorly to the desire of a Communist regime. The nominal collapse of the Communist regime has also opened the doors to other new ideologies and ways of living that may indeed turn out to be even more devastating than the Bolshevik tyranny. Dangerous winds are blowing from the West. Materialism, secularism and practical atheism may destroy and thus steal the cherished freedom for which these nations have so heroically fought. We must do all that is possible, therefore, to prevent Russia from being enslaved to the ideology of materialism, which has nearly vanquished the faith in the West. In addition, we must reach Russia, because sects of all types, taking advantage of a spiritual vacuum, are plaguing the ex-Soviet Union territories, and given their immense resources for propaganda, present a real threat to the authentic re-Christianization of Russia. Everything in Russia at the present time is in a state of flux. Nothing in any sphere of life is taken for granted, including in those spheres that are the proper domain of the laity. The means of communication, the business markets, the sphere of education, health care, and the mass media are all, literally, up for grabs. It is, therefore, vital that lay people become involved in order to help to secure, through all good means possible, a just and Christian society in Russia. The laity, along with the priests and religious, must, with great urgency, donate their talents and resources to this task. Every missionary by nature is one that is sent by the community. With the missionaries in Russia will be also all those who, through prayer, financial and moral support, advice and technical expertise, will make the Mission in Russia possible. On the ground, and hundreds of miles away from Russia, united as one body, in the joys and the sufferings of the Mission, all shall be present. And as the Holy Father has stated. "[p]roclamation, because it is made in union with the entire ecclesial community, is never a merely personal act. The missionary is present and carries out his work by virtue of a mandate he has received; even if he finds himself alone, he remains joined by invisible but profound bonds to the evangelizing activity of the whole Church. Sooner or later, his hearers come to recognize in him the community which sent him and which supports him" (Redemptoris Missio: #45). It is indeed a race against time. A race against time because our lives are short and fleeting. It is a race against time, because the winds of materialism and practical atheism are flowing into the East at a very rapid pace. It is a race against time, because man without Christ and the Gospel runs an extremely dangerous course towards self- destruction. In the end, the only thing that will count are the things that we did for God and for our brothers and sisters.
BOARD MEMBERS AID TO THE CATHOLIC CHURCH IN RUSSIA A NON PROFIT CORPORATION PRESIDENT * * * * MARCEL GUARNIZO Marcel Guarnizo, 26 is currently studying for the priesthood in Rome at Maria Mater Ecclesia seminary. He studying under Bishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz, who in 1991 was named by John Paul II to be the Apostolic Administrator for European Russia. Marcel has traveled to Russia on severe/ occasions and has a working knowledge of the Russian language VICE PRESIDENT * * * * LUCA TORTORELLI Luca Tortorelli, 25 is pursuing his Masters in Business Administration at the University of Pennsylvania. He graduated from the University of Virginia in 1992 and spent two years with Nations Bank in their Capitol Markets group. Luca has spent the last year traveling and working on various projects affiliated with the Church in Latin America. He is an Italian citizen fluent in Spanish and English. SECRETARY **** JEANETTE STACKHOUSE Jeanette Stackhouse 24, is currently studying at the John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family. She plans to obtain her degree in May of 1996. She holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from James Madison University. Her previous experience includes working as an intern for the U.S. Delegation to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris, France. Her most recent position was as an account executive with envision Technologies, Inc., where she continues to work part time. Jeanette is fluent in French. TREASURER * * * * EDWARD M. ROUSE Edward M. Rouse, 41 is a Certified Public Accountant who owns his own accounting firm in Annandale, Virginia and he is a member of Saint Michael's parish. Edward graduated from Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania with a B. S degree in Corporate Finance and a B.A. degree in Modern European History. He also holds an M.B.A. degree from George Washington University. Edward has some fluency in Korean and Japanese. DR. WARREN CARROLL Warren H. Carroll holds a Ph.D. in History from Columbia University. He founded Christendom College in Front Royal, Virginia in 1977, where he currently serves as Chairman of the History Department. Among his many works are "1917 Red Banners, White Mantle", "Our Lady of Guadeloupe", "The Conquest of Darkness", "The Guillotine and the Cross" and "The Rise and Fall of the Communist Revolution ". DAMIAN VON STAUFFENBERG Damian Von Stauffenberg, is a German native who has lived in the United States since 1970. He was employed by the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation for 24 years. He specialized in lending projects in Latin America. Damian is currently with Private Sector Initiatives, a firm specializing in micro lending in developing countries. JOHN ALWES John Alwes, is graduate of Notre Dame University in South Bend, Indiana. He is currently a self employed professional fund raiser who specializes in Catholic organizations. CHRISTOPHER BRIGGS Christopher Briggs, 27 is currently a doctoral candidate in political philosophy at Catholic University of America. Most recently he was employed as Staff Director to the Mayor of Jersey City, New Jersey. He has also worked as an editor in various assignments. REV. FR. EDWARD C. HATHAWAY Father Edward Hathaway is currently assigned as Associate Pastor of Saint Andrew the Apostle Church in Clifton Virginia. He is a graduate of the University of Virginia and Saint Charles Seminary in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. REV. FR. STANLEY DUBOE Father Stanley Duboe is a member of the Trinitarian Order and he is currently the Legislative Assistant to Representative Christopher Smith of New Jersey. RALPH MARTIN
FR. JOHN HARDON