Speakers’ Topics

  1. History of Catholicism in Eastern Russia

A brief history of the Catholic Church in Eastern Russia that answers a myriad of questions.  Where exactly is Siberia and what is the Russian Far East?  When did Catholicism first come to these regions?  How did it spread?  How was it wiped out?  What happened to the priests serving Vladivostok?  How did things change in 1991?  What are some of the barriers the Catholic Church faces today in Russia?

  1. Our Lady of Fatima & Russia

The talk first reviews the 1917 appearances, prophecies, and prayer requests of Our Lady of Fatima.  The speaker then goes on to cover such topics as prayers and devotions over the years; Our Lady of Fatima and John Paul II; the breakup of the Soviet Union; and the continued need for prayers for Russia.

  1. How Communism Methodically Wipes Out Christianity

The speaker addresses some of the means the government used to destroy Christianity; what happened to churches; how the family came under attack; how abortion became prevalent; how children were used to promote the communist agenda; how youth were indoctrinated; some of the means of spreading anti-Christian propaganda; and so forth.  The talk includes some of the real-life stories from our parishioners in the Russian Far East.

  1. The Catholic Church Since the Fall of Communism

Much has happened since communism fell in 1991.  The speaker covers such topics as: the naïve expectations of Russians and outsiders when Russia opened up to religion; where Russia’s current Catholic priests have come from; the development of dioceses; the development of parishes; special difficulties faced by priests in Russia; problems with Russian infrastructure and travel; the parishes we have helped to establish; the work that remains to be done.

  1. Our Martyrs and Sainthood Candidates

As part of the effort to wipe out Christianity, the last bishop of Vladivostok was placed under house arrest and the last pastor was exiled.  Nonetheless, many parishioners remained faithful, often joining to pray the rosary together.  In 1937, five of these parishioners—all men—were arrested and imprisoned on bogus charges of counter-revolutionary activities.  On February 3 of the following year, all were executed by firing squad.  The speaker fleshes out this sad tale, along with the martyrs’ heroic deaths.  Today, their cause for sainthood is being reviewed by Rome.

  1. Helping and Healing Men and Women in Eastern Russia

The speaker first lays the groundwork by presenting some statistical information about Russia such as the life expectancy, the divorce rate, the literacy rate, the percentage of practicing Christians, and so forth.  The talk then covers some of the unique difficulties in bringing Christianity to this land.  In many cases, the situation in Russia calls for novel approaches.  Our speaker also relates how a sacred music program became our best evangelization tool; how seminarians are reaching out to atheist college students; how state and local governments are asking the Catholic Church for advice; how we are pairing lonely grandparents with needy orphans to benefit both, and more!

  1. Helping and Healing Children in Eastern Russia

For almost three generations, Russian children bore the consequences of atheistic communism: astronomical divorce rates, substance-abusing and violent parents, malnutrition, dismal medical care, and high rates of institutionalization.  Some Russians today claim this left them with deep-seated, almost genetic, hopelessness.  While giving a realistic view of children in Russia, our speaker also brings to life some of the many victories, large and small, that are turning things around.  Russian doctors, business owners, child psychologists, politicians, educators, and others are promoting healthy and holy new ways to help children and to ensure they no longer have to suffer needlessly.  The speaker also highlights some of our own child-focused programs.

  1. Amazing Stories You Won’t Hear Anywhere Else

Over the last two decades, we have witnessed many beautiful events showing how God was watching over Russia during its dark years.  Our speaker shares such stories as:  How a communist officer became our best friend.  How we ended up in Vladivostok.  Why our church building was saved when so many others were destroyed.  The “Miracle Picture” that survived everything.  The discovery and return of the church’s original crucifix.  How our church wound up on the CBS Evening News.

  1. Pro-Life Miracles

We established our first pro-life Women’s Support Center in 1998, as a place where women who chose not to abort could find all sorts of assistance.  Since then, our pro-life program has grown and we have witnessed many beautiful miracles.  Among them:  The incredible orchids on Lake Baikal; the abortion doctor whose life was changed by our conference; the surprising story of the businessman who paved the way for a new parish; how baby Bogdan changed his whole family; how public schools and hospitals are supporting our pro-life work, and more!

  1. Russia’s Future Priests & Sisters

Our speaker covers the issues that must be overcome before Russia has many native-born priests.  The talk answers such questions as:  Where have the priests in Russia come from?  Are there any Catholic seminaries in Russia?  What are some of the difficulties in attracting Russian seminarians?  How many Catholic priests are active in Russia today?  How many dioceses and parishes are they serving?  How will Russia find more priests over the next 10 or 20 years?