5985(I)_Warming hearts in Yakutsk

by ceteratolle posted May 17, 2023


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First year of Korean Salesian in Yakutsk

       Yakutsk (Russian Federation)-Seoul, South Korea 17 May 2023 -- Time is flying! It's already one year since Fr Matthew Moon, SDB from the Korea province arrived in Yakutsk, to enrich this most northern Asian community belonging to the Slovakia province. In this Siberian town the winter is only slowly turning to spring.

       At present there are 6 Salesian confreres in two presences of one canonical community - 4 SDBs in Yakutsk (city of 300,000+) and 2 SDBs in Aldan (town of 30,000+). Another two young non-Slovakian missionaries who joined this mission few years ago, are now in their theology formation and one more Slovakian confrere is ready to reach this community next August.

       Fr Moon shares his missionary heart: "Just yesterday we returned from a spring outing with our young people. I'm slowly entering the network of human relationships and learning Russian. Although the communication in this language is a challenge, I'm already able to celebrate Mass and have a simple conversation. Yes, I need to live with more faith. Please, pray for me!"

       The distance between Yakutsk and Aldan is about 600 km. Usually the confreres visit each other 4 times every year to support and encourage each other. During winter the travel is easier, thanks to the frozen river Lena, that is used as the best highway during that time of the year.

       Yakutsk is the capital city of Sakcha autonomous Republic, at distance of a few thousands of kilometers from other Siberian Catholic parishes. Each diocesan meeting of clergy and religious means that the bishop and his clergy travel thousands of kilometers. Last year the meeting was in Chabarovsk, some 2400 km distance. However for their diocesan bishop of Irkutsk it was a journey of more than 3200 km.

       For a Salesian there is a plentiful harvest, most of the children and youth have no father. In many single parent families the mother is raising up to 5-6 children. Also alcohol addiction is producing many 'de facto orphans'. In the Don Bosco Oratory (Yakutsk) the Salesians create a home for many youngsters, with summer camps, interesting activities and also family visits to assist oratorian families, as much as possible. Since social welfare is not very well developed, youth poverty is very visible. However our Yakutsk Oratory youth in spite of their family environment put on a bright face. Meeting these young people frequently motivates the Salesians to pray for them and do the best to accompany them.

       Yakutsk-Aldan community Salesians are grateful for your prayers especially during the Mary Help of Christians Novena!