From the Tomb of St. Francis to the Steppe of Kazakhistan

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On Wednesday, January 23, the Friars of Assisi gathered at the Tomb of Our Seraphic Father St. Francis for a very important and joyful event: the Minister General, Friar Marco Tasca, bestowed the cross and the Gospels upon three Friars who have prepared themselves to depart for the new mission in Kazakhstan.

For several years now we have been preparing to respond to the appeal from the Church of this immense area of Central Asia which has asked the Franciscans to come and bring “the spirit of Assisi” to their people. Some Friars have gradually prepared themselves through the courses in Brussels and with a month in Assisi.

Friar Robert Peretti, from the Province of Padua, who has already been a missionary in Romania for many years, Friar Paweł Block, from the Province of Gdansk, forty years of age and fourteen years a priest, and Friar Alexei Skakovskii, from the General Custody of Russia, born in Kazakhstan, twenty-seven years old and three years ordained, are the three Friars who, with the blessing of Francis, departed on February 12 for this new missionary endeavor of the Order.

The Bishop of Astana has asked them to be, first of all, witnesses of spirituality for that Church, along with building dialogue and charitable service.