On June 12-17, 2018, Friar Marco TASCA, the Minister General, and Friar Jacek CIUPIŃSKI, the Assistant General for the Foederatio Europae Mediae et Orientalis (FEMO) made a fraternal visit to the Franciscan fraternity in Astana, Kazakhstan.
The friary currently has three friars serving in pastoral ministry. They are Friar Mihael MAJETIČ from the Province of St. Joseph in Slovenia; Friar Paweł BLOK from the Province of St. Maximilian M. Kolbe in Poland (Gdańsk); and Friar Roberto PERETTI from the Italian Province of St. Anthony of Padua (Northern Italy).
A key moment during the visit was the celebration of Mass on the solemnity of St. Anthony of Padua. At the same time, the friars also celebrated the 10th anniversary of Conventual Franciscan presence in Kazakhstan and Friar Roberto PERETTI’s 50th anniversary of religious life. Those attending included the Most Reverend Tomasz PETA, Archbishop of Astana, the Sisters of Mercy, parishioners and friends of the friars. After the solemn celebration, there was a music concert with performances by some of Friar Roberto’s students. The celebrations concluded with a fraternal agape meal for all the guests.
Apart from the celebrations, the visit also afforded a better understanding the life of the friars in Astana, and supplied data that will help when planning the future of this mission of the Order.
The visit provided a good opportunity to personally meet with the Most Reverend Francis Assisi CHULLIKATT, Apostolic Nuncio to Kazakhstan along with Archbishop PETA. During the visit, the friars of Kazakhstan took their guests the Alzhir Memorial in Akmol, which, during the communist terror, was the site of one of the Soviet Union’s largest gulags for women who were labeled “wives of the enemies of the people”.
After the Minister General had departed, Friar Paweł accompanied the Assistant General, Friar Jacek, on visits to some of the parishes of the Archdiocese of Astana and to the National Shrine in Oziornoje.
Friar Jacek CIUPIŃSKI, Assistant General for the FEMO