Divine Word Missionaries
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Revival of the Catholic Church in former Soviet Union

Bp. Jerzy Mazur, SVD
Fr. Jerzy Mazur, SVD was ordained bishop on May 31, 1998 to serve the Catholics of the Latin Rite in Siberia, the biggest diocese in the world. Bishop Mazur lives in Irkutsk which is over 3000 miles east of Moscow.
"The church which has suffered so much, is now experiencing a time of renewal" - Bp. Mazur
The first connection between Russia and the Society of the Divine Word occurred in 1905. Then in 1919 the Propaganda Fidei directed a plea to the SVD Generalate in which the Society was requested to take up missionary work in Siberia, Georgia and the Ukraine. The Society was willing to do so but historical events changed it all. The Bolsheviks made the implementation of the request impossible.

In the summer of 1939 three Polish Divine Word Missionaries were in Baranowicze - at that time still a part of Poland - very close to the Russian boarder. Their pastoral work there, however, ended abruptly at the outbreak of the Second World War.

Only when the Soviet Union experienced meltdown and perestroika and glasnost became realities was it possible to begin in the Ukraine. In March of 1990 the first Holy Spirit Missionary Sisters ventured into the Ukraine and established four houses. One year later, the Society of the Divine Word began anew in Baranowicze which had become a part of White Russia (Belarus). A Divine Word Center, dedicated to the Holy Trinity, was founded and a new parish was dedicated in 1996 to Our Lady of Fatima.

In 1992 the first Divine Word Missionaries arrived in Moscow, took up residence in a small house and began work among the youth. In 1998 a third parish was accepted. St. Olgais is in the area of the University of Moscow, the largest school of its kind in Russia.

Bp. Julian Gbur, SVD

Julian Gbur,SVD Bishop in Lwow

In 1994 Pope John Paul II appointed Fr. Julian Gbur, SVD auxiliary bishop of the Uniate Church in Lwow, Ukraine. Prior to that Fr. Gbur, SVD was assigned to work among the Ukrainian Catholics in Krakow, Poland. He himself was born of Ukrainian parents who belonged to the Ukrainian Catholic Church. The years under communism were very difficult for the Catholic Church. Fr. Julian worked hard to revive many of its communities in Poland. It is not surprising, therefore, that the Ukrainian Catholic Church suggested to the Pope John Paul II that he be appointed bishop for that Church.

The same year Archbishop John Bukovsky was named Apostolic Nuncio in Moscow. Archbishop Bukovsky can account for some significant success. Through adroit negotiations with the mayor of St. Petersburg, for example, he succeeded in regaining partial control of the former seminary in St. Petersburg. American Divine Word Missionary, Fr. John Donaghey, SVD, revised the statues of the reestablished Queen of the Apostles Seminary at the request of the Archbishop. In March of 1998 Fr. Jerzy Mazur, SVD was named auxiliary bishop of Siberia.

Bp. John Bukovsky, SVD
Bp. Bukovsky with John Paul II
Mission Mass League Mission Rosary Prayer eCandles
Mission Mass League Mission Rosary Light a Prayer Candle
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