Winter Activities in Khabarovsk
We would like, with this short chronicle, to let you know about some particular graces that Our Lord Jesus Christ and Mary Most Holy have granted to us throughout the winter festivities, the oratory activities, and the youth encounter in Ussurysk.
The Solemnity of Christmas.
The Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord is one of the most meaningful and awaited feasts for the faithful Catholics in Khabarovsk. The solemnity was celebrated this year by Fr. Geovanny, with the important presence of the faithful, adorned with festive songs proper for the season, and with the participation of a group of altar servers whose red cassocks contributed to the beauty of the liturgy. This year was also a special Christmas for the members of our parish in Konsomoslk. Fr. Jose was to celebrate Christmas in this small community of ours. The parish of Konsomoslk is dedicated to the Holy Family and is situated 300km (185mi) from Khabarovsk. There is a small number of parishioners; between 10 and 15 persons participate in the Masses which are celebrated only once a month. The parish operates in a small apartment where they have what is necessary for the apostolate, a chapel, a small sacristy, and a meeting room with a kitchen where the faithful enjoy a tea after the Mass. In both of the parishes the festive atmosphere was the same: abundant joy, fruit of a great faith and the love of Our Savior.
The New Year and the Winter Oratory
Here in Russia, the celebration of the New Year is lived intensely. On a national level, it is probably the most celebrated day for the Russians. The festivity is prolonged throughout a week. With some exceptions, during this time the people do not work, neither do the schools and universities, and that is why it is most ideal to organize a winter oratory. From Tuesday, January 2nd, through Sunday, January 7th, we held oratory activities with approximately 15 children. The Oratory began with the Mass at 9:30am, the first and most important activity of the oratory. Afterward there was breakfast and time to prepare for the day’s outing. In these days we were able to bring the children to a theatre, a waterpark (this is a pool with covered toboggan slides. In this season it is between -20 y -30 degrees Celsius), to the ice skating rink and an amusement park. During the oratory there was also a catechetical talk, board games, and the sisters prepared together with the children a Nativity play where not only the children acted but also some youths and parents. At 5pm the day closed with the praying of the Rosary, the “Good nights” talks, and a small snack. We want to give thanks in a particular way to Divine Providence which was experienced through so many persons who helped us, whether it was through financial support of the oratory, or help in the kitchen, cleaning, collaboration in the play, and also for the generosity of some institutions which showed their support by means of discounts, and even free entry for some cases. May God bless them for their generosity and charity toward these children!
Youth Encounter in Ussurysk.
At this same time, the Youth Encounter in Ussurysk took place. Fr. Jose and Sister Pena helped while about 15 youths participated, coming from three parishes: Ussurysk, Vladivostok and Khabarovsk; the majority of these were university students. As is custom, the day was centered upon the Holy Mass, then group activities and conferences were arranged around the theme of “The Family”. Neither here was there a lack of recreation, and the classic opportunity for ice skating. We give thanks to God for the blessings and fruits of this encounter.
We want to give thanks to Our Lord and His Most Holy Mother, and we ask especially for your prayers for the fruits of the work of our Institute here in Russia.
Our Lady of Fatima…