Tuesday, October 30, 2007

To Russia With Love

Arkansas Catholic ( the official newspaper of the Diocese of Little Rock) has an awesome article about a very dear friend of my Fr. James West, he has just returned from Vladivostok Russia, a port city of roughly 700,000 on the Sea of Japan.

The Full article is post here: Arkansas Catholic - To Russia With Love

Below are a few snippets, Please keep Fr. West in your prayers

Father James P. West and a team of parishioners from Immaculate Conception Church in North Little Rock got a firsthand look last month at the painstaking task of revitalizing the Catholic faith in Russia.

"The Church is building back from nothing," Father West said. "It's so slow, it's moving at a glacial pace."

From 1917 to 1959, thousands of bishops, priests, monks and lay Catholics were killed in an effort to wipe out the Church's influence while thousands of other clergy and laity were imprisoned or deported. Nearly every church was closed....

...When two American priests took up residence at Most Holy Mother of God in 1992, she explained, "There was no such thing as a volunteer, no charitable anything."

Besides, Gray added, building anything in Russia requires 23 permits.

"The priests gave us a wish list, everything from Kool-Aid to diapers to organ shoes," Gray said.

Each team member brought two suitcases, one for themselves and one packed with donated goods.

Father West said the work in Vladivostok illustrates building a Christian society from the ground up.

"Communism robbed them of all humanity, all civility," the North Little Rock pastor said of the Russian people whom he saw and visited. "It's as though the church is having first to teach them what it means to be a human being and then to move from there into the area of faith."....

"It was such a wonderful experience," Father West said. "I'd get back on the plane and go right back over there right now."

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