Central Asian bishops form new regional conference

The Catholic bishops of Central Asia have formed a new regional bishops’ conference, bringing together the tiny Catholic communities of the former

Oct 15, 2021

Bishop Adelio Dell’Oro of Karaganda in Kazakhstan

The Catholic  bishops of Central Asia have formed  a new regional bishops’ conference,  bringing together the tiny Catholic  communities of the former Soviet  republics of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and  Tajikistan, to help forge unity and  growth through greater sharing. The  move comes three decades after the  five nations became independent  from Communist rule under the Soviet Union.

“It is the result of two years of  work and will assist the Catholic  presence in this land to grow and mature,” said Bishop Adelio Dell’Oro of Karaganda in Kazakhstan. “We  will have the opportunity to give  greater meaning to our mission here,  to understand what it means, 30  years after the independence of these  countries, to be in a territory with a  Muslim or Orthodox majority,” the  Italian-born bishop told Vatican’s  Fides news agency. 

“This is an important issue for all  five countries. In this way, we will be  able to go back to following a common path.” What until recently only  happened between the various dioceses is now also happening between  the Churches of the five states. 

The new episcopal body was established by a decree of the Vatican’s  Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples on Sept 8. It aims to  help the regional bishops respond  together to common challenges and  to ensure mutual support to address  problems in each country.

Following the decree, the Bishops’  Conference of Kazakhstan held its  41st plenary session on Sept 20. During their meeting, the bishops of Kazakhstan consecrated their Church to  the special protection of St Joseph,  according to the indications of Pope  Francis’ letter celebrating the 20th  anniversary of the apostolic visit of  the Holy Father, Pope John Paul II.

While the Catholic Bishops’  Conference of Kazakhstan is a  member of the Federation of Asian  Bishops’ Conferences, Uzbekistan,  Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, and Tajikistan are associate members. --Vatican News

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