For twenty years, the Redemptorists have been ministering to the Catholic parish of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in the western Siberian city of Kemerovo. The three priests are assisted by four religious sisters of the Missionary Sisters Servants of the Holy Spirit. The parish is very active: Holy Mass is celebrated every day, Eucharistic adoration is practiced and catechism is offered for adults, young people and children of all age groups. Very popular are the so-called “holidays with God” that allow families with children, adults and young people to combine physical with spiritual recuperation, leaving the city behind to spend time in nature and, at the same time, strengthen their life in faith. Catholic faithful from Kemerovo also took part in the meeting of Catholic families from all over Russia in 2017. During this event, a group of adolescents from Kemerovo put on a play in honour of the 100th anniversary of the appearances of Our Lady of Fatima.
Moreover, Kemerovo is a particularly beautiful example of how friendly relations between Russian Orthodox and Catholic Christians can succeed. The two groups have been working closely and openly together for many years now. Last year, Bishop Aristarch of the Orthodox church even travelled to Poland with Father Andrzej Legiec, a Catholic priest, and several Orthodox priests to begin a long-lasting collaboration between the Orthodox seminary in the Kuzbass region and the Catholic seminary of Rzeszów.
However, the priests not only minister to the faithful in the city of Kemerovo itself, but also in the area surrounding the city, the Kuznetsk Basin (Kuzbass). They have to travel between 190 and 290 kilometres to reach five of the ten towns they regularly visit; the closest are 75 to 90 kilometres away. One of these places is the city of Leninsk-Kuznetsky, where Catholics of German descent secretly got together to pray as far back as the 1940s, when it was still part of the Soviet Union. A priest came to celebrate Holy Mass with them from time to time. Today, the priests visit here twice a month.