By far, the greatest need in Russia is for people to be exposed to the Gospel. Until people accept its truths and incorporate them into their daily lives, they will be lost souls. Recognizing this, we have implemented a remarkably broad array of programs to introduce people to the Faith and to help them grow deeper in their relationship with Christ. Some of our efforts are mentioned below.
Daily and Sunday Masses. Sunday Mass in Russian is held at noon in Vladivostok, which allows people from far away to attend. A second Mass is celebrated in the evening in Vietnamese. On Monday through Saturday, Masses are celebrated in Russian. In 2019, one of our novices from Vietnam, Br. Mark Dao, CJD, discovered Catholics of the Vietnamese community in Vladivostok. He invited them to Mass at Most Holy Mother of God Church, and soon we had 50 Vietnamese parishioners!
Sunday School. One program begun in the early years was a Sunday school for children. At the time, the children’s literature and teaching aids were also used by adults. After all, they had to learn the very basics of the Faith, too! The children’s Sunday school continues to this day with a variety of learning activities.
Sacramental Preparation. Our priests and catechists offer very thorough instructions prior to Baptism, First Reconciliation, First Communion, Confirmation, and Marriage.
RCIA Classes. Every year, we have a number of people who come to us to learn the basics of the Faith. The classes culminate with Baptisms, First Communions, and Confirmations at the Easter Mass.
College Outreach. One big benefit of having the CJD novices’ program here is that our novices are required to attend the University and study Russian. Through classes and student activities, these young men meet and become friends with students from Russia, China, and even North Korea—all countries with a strong communist presence either currently or lingering from the past. Often, our novices are the only Christians these other students have ever encountered. Their presence is a simple, yet powerful, testimony and they are happy and eager to share the Faith whenever questioned.
The Sisters in Jesus the Lord live on Russian Island, just a short drive from Vladivostok. But also on the island is one of Russia’s “mega-universities,” projected to have 100,000 students in the future. Some of these students are Catholic, either from Russia or far from home. The Sisters host meals, get-togethers, and discussions for those students, providing a way for them to meet other Catholics and to strengthen their faith. Our CJD brothers and priests often take part in these events.
Online Courses. Our priests wrote several online Russian-language courses including an Introduction to Christianity, Christianity and Islam, and a Bible Course for Children. They are accessible to inquirers across Russia and the world.
Music Programs. Many talented people have come together to seek out, translate, arrange, publish, distribute, and perform beautiful sacred music and Catholic hymns. Such music was completely suppressed during the Communist years. But now, people of all ages are moved by their beauty and expression of the Faith. Please read our information on the Music Society of St. Augustine and the Sacred Music Concerts provided on the separate page describing our music programs.
Parish Bulletins. Far more thorough than regular Sunday bulletins, these include information on saints, feast days, Church teachings, sacraments, and much more. They are helpful and informative not only for local parishioners, but also for Catholics who live far away, who can attend Mass only infrequently, or who are homebound.
Annual Youth Conferences. For Catholic young adults who wish to learn more and take a deeper plunge into the Faith, these annual summertime conferences have grown increasingly popular. Priests, Brothers, Sisters, and past attendees come together to plan and organize the events. Over the last few years, American college students from FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students) have also come and assisted at the conferences.
Annual Children’s Camp. Held in Lesozavodsk every year, this event allows children to enjoy the summer camp experience while learning more about Catholicism. Here, too, we have the input and help from priests and religious as well as FOCUS visitors.
Special Conferences. We have hosted conferences on family life, fatherhood, abstinence, substance abuse, post-abortion syndrome, childhood development, and a host of other subjects where we have not only provided information that is difficult to find in Russia, but have also offered the Catholic perspective on these topics.
Visibility. Thanks to the steeples we added to the church building in 2009, Most Holy Mother of God Catholic Church is a much more visible entity in Vladivostok. To further increase visibility, we always invite the media to our special events. We now have wonderful friends from the local television and radio stations who have covered events such as the re-consecration of the church building and performances by visiting organists. The coverage lets people know that we are present and active, and that our doors are open. Our church is also a stop for many tour groups who then learn about the re-birth of the parish and renovation of the building.
As you see, our work is wide-ranging and far more expansive than what is found in a typical parish. This is necessary because the Faith was so totally wiped out during the years of communism. To help us continue our catechetical and evangelization programs, click below.