A new Catholic bishops’ conference has been created for Central Asia last month, bringing together Church leaders from Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, and Tajikistan.
“[The] bishops expressed their joy at the creation of the new regional body by the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples,” read a report from news site AsiaNews.
The announcement was made during the 41st plenary session of the Bishops’ Conference of Kazakhstan on September 20 and 21 September.
Kazakhstan is the largest of the five former Soviet republics of Central Asia. It has a population of 15 million and Catholics are estimated at about 250,000.
In other states of the region, Catholics, who are in the minority, are usually gathered in temporary structures during worship.
During their meeting, the bishops of Kazakhstan consecrated their Church to the special protection of Saint Joseph to mark this year’s observance of the “Year of St Joseph” and to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the apostolic visit of Pope John Paul II.
The Kazakh bishops also presented the steps taken for the opening of the beatification process of Gertrude Detzel, a consecrated laywoman from Kazakhstan, persecuted in the Stalinist concentration camps and who died in 1971.