In this issue:
- TESTIMONY FROM BELARIUS
- Personal testimony
- Precious Pearl Community
- Light-Life Movement
RENEWAL IN BELARUS
Looking for charismatic renewal among Catholics in Belarus we came in touch with Julia Frolova of the Precious Pearl community. She was a representative of CCR-Belarus in the European ICCRS-meeting in Hungary (see EUCCRIL 86 and 88). For Euccril she gave her testimony and wrote about her community. Maybe you can say it is all about a charismatic stream in the Light-Life Movement.
Julia: "I converted to God only seven years ago. I grew up in a family, where there wasn't faith and I was very far away from God. From the age of 14 I did what I wanted and I was at a border of a precipice into eternal darkness so many times. When I was 17-18 years old, I didn't want to live, because this life seemed to me idle and foolish. I felt only dirtiness, weariness and a big pain in my soul. I understood that this life with a striving for money, good job, having a lot of worldly fun, couldn't bring me true happiness, eternal love and peace in my heart. I looked for happiness in alcohol, drugs and free love.
I believe our gracious Lord has been knocking in my petrified heart from my birth and when He saw irrepressible desire in my soul to change my life He extended a helping hand to me. I was evangelised by a girl from a Protestant church in a street. At that moment I received a lightness and my eyes were opened. The Lord gave me understanding that He, who is the Great God, loved me, forgave me and wanted to help me. I understood things that I earlier I had never really thought about. It was very simple with the power of the Holy Spirit.
Later I joined the Catholic church, where I found my other family -The Precious Pearl community- where I found love, understanding and support. Jesus changed my heart and my life. Now I am serving in our community and I am grateful to Lord for His
PRECIOUS PEARL COMMUNITY
The Precious Pearl (Mt 13,46) is an international community with groups in Germany (Carlsberg, Ludwigshaven), Poland (Jabloniec, Chojnice) and Belarus (Minsk, Molodeczno, Mogilow, Zaslawl).
The founder is Fr. Ireneusz Kopacz, a Polish priest who lived and worked in Germany for already 20 years. He is very charismatic and is burning to evangelise everywhere. He first experienced charismatic prayer 25 years ago during 15-day Oasis in Lipie, Poland.
In general the great number of "Oasis" takes place in Poland, also in Germany, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Ukraine, Kazachstan, the USA and now in Belarus for 10 years.
Our community "The Precious Pearl" in Belarus arose in Minsk in 1992 after Fr Ireneusz Kopacz came with a group of polish people. The community is occupied with evangelisation and has its own formation over 3 years. After our formation there is Diakonia in the Parishes, in our Movement, in our community. We are the Diakonia of Evangelization, Deliverance (from alcoholism, for example) and Prayer (intercession for people). Now our community is also in other Belarusian towns: Molodechno, Mogilow, Zaslawl.
In the first year of formation, besides meetings in small groups twice a week, there are 10 "Steps" (Evangelisation Oasis of Prayer), called: "Jesus Christ", "The Immaculate Mary", "The Holy Spirit", "Church", "The Word of God", "The prayer", "The Liturgy", "The witness", "The new culture", "Agape". Every Step takes place each month over 3 days. All participants go together to a small village Sinilo, where there is a Catholic church, we also have our Community house there. Interestingly, Pope John Paul II blessed a stone for the building of a new Retreat House in
The first year formation-the first level, factually, relies on the texts from the Holy Bible about the love of God. Then in Summer we have 15-day Oasis, at which about 50 people come to pray, to live, to study the Bible together, to listen to teachings given by lay people (animators) or a priest. 15 days are because of mysteries of Rosary. On the12th day we have evening prayer to the Holy Spirit asking for gifts and fruits. The Holy Spirit gives His gifts to everyone who is open to the love of Jesus.
The basis of second level lies studying the books from Old testament. We try to experience Exodus from Egypt, from our own slavery of sin and 2nd level provides more of meditation about yourself, your life, about Moses, about Easter. There is also one of 15 nights during retreat - the night of Exodus- in which we experience Easter, we try to do everything as the Egyptians did : we eat in a hurry, then we go to a forest taking a long route, during which we make breaks to read Bible and then we stay near water to renew our baptism, then we return in our church to celebrate the Holy Mass. People of the 2nd year formation study more about liturgy and try to serve during the Holy Mass with readings, psalms, music and diakonia,
There is also 15-day Oasis for 3rd year level- and usually it takes place in Rome during the summer. This program is also very rich. The Topic is Ecclesia Mater-Mater Ecclesiae. The aim is to meet different movements and communities in the
In the community there are some consecrated people, who devote their life to Lord and to community in prayer, evangelisation, and conducting retreats, most of these are from Belarus. We call them Internal Diakonia.
In Minsk our community do direct evangelisation: we go out into streets in two’s with the Holy Bible and tell people about Jesus Christ ( Kerygma), then we invite people to our community. Also after the Holy Mass together with the priest we intercede for people every Sunday in the Parish Church of St. Simon and St. Helen. There are brothers and sisters of almost every age in the community.
Our Priest, Fr. Ireneuz comes in Belarus 5 times a year. Last year we started the School for Animators in Minsk and Sinilo. About 20 persons participated.
We have also contacts with a Bishop Ciril Klimovich and the support of the Secretary of Nunciature, Fr.Henryk Jagodzinski. Some other priests also help us: Fr. Vladislav Zavalniuk, Fr. Mieczyslaw Lobiak and Fr. Grzegorz Goralski, OFM.
I know myself from my own experience how important it is to tell people about the love of God, especially all the countries of ex-USSR.
God is great and works wonders. He gives gifts to our community: there are a lot of conversions and healings. People who were at the bottom of this life become again happy, joyful, open for the love and actions of God.
The Precious Pearl community is a part of the Light-Life Movement. Fr. Ireneus, the founder of the Precious Pearl community, was a disciple of Fr. Blachnicki. This movement sprang up in Poland already 50 years ago.
The founder of the movement Light-Life was Fr. Franciszek Blachnicki (1921-1987). Now he is Servant of God and we are praying for his beatification. From the beginning of his priestly ministry, he laid great store by working in small groups, starting with Oasis of God's children - to the 15 days experiential retreat called Oasis of the Living Church. This led to the formation of the Light-Life Movement. Fr. Blachnicki died in Carlsberg,
Germany. There are also Oases for priests, adults, families, and youth.
P.S. More things are happening in Belarus. Julia is Latin-Catholic. In the European meeting we also had a young representative from the Greek-Catholics in Belarus. November 2003 the new European chairperson Michelle Moran hopes to visit Belarus. Let pray for them.