Catholic Church in Russia ‘emerges from the ashes of atheism,’ bishop says

The Catholic Church in Russia "is going through a phase of rebirth," which is being led by the youth, says Bishop Clemens Pickel of St. Clement Diocese in Saratow, Southern Russia.

The bishop spoke during the congress "Meeting point: Universal Church" held by the German section of Aid to the Church in Need, from March 5 to 7, in Augsburg, Bavaria.

Bishop Pickel, a German national, explained that the Catholic Church is growing, but "not at the expense of others." She "emerges from the ashes of atheism," he said.

Bishop Pickel’s heartfelt concern is the pastoral work among youth. "Young people are the first to come to church,” he said. “If they persevere in this practice, their parents frequently start coming as well."

Currently, 40 priests and 50 sisters are active in his diocese. "I'm often under the impression that our poor priests and religious are moving from one place to another like firemen,” he said. “What's lacking is a system."

St. Clement Diocese has about 25,000 Catholics. A new cathedral was built with space for 100 people. Its former cathedral had been converted in a cinema.

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