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“Most important growth in Kazakhstan Catholics is an understanding of God in their hearts”

Only 1 percent of the population in Kazakhstan is Catholic.
Bishop José Luis Mumbiela has been in Kazhakstan since 1998. For 20 years, he has witnessed the steady growth of their small Catholic Church.

With only 1 percent of the population being Catholic it has been a process to slowly increase the presence of parishes as well as the number of faithfuls.

However, Mumbiela says that the most beautiful growth he has seen is in the believers themselves.

Bishop of Almaty (Kazakhstan)
 “It is a growth that I believe that for those who are native to Kazakhstan is the new encounter with Christ, not only with the famous Church in the world, which they see through the Vatican. Instead it is understanding God in their hearts and that is the growth, I think it is almost the most important growth we have to promote there.” 

The 10 bishops of Kazakhstan’s Episcopal Conference met with Pope Francis. Mumbiela is the Bishop of the Holy Trinity diocese of Almaty and the president of country’s Episcopal Conference.

Mumbiela said that during the meeting, the pope seemed very happy. He highlighted that their work in the country embodied the Church’s message.

Bishop of Almaty (Kazakhstan)
 “’This is the missionary church of which I speak so often about’. He seemed so joyful, because we were talking about our enthusiasm, our pastoral aspirations, even our worries. It was an evangelizing atmosphere.’” 

Kazakhstan has great ethnic and religious diversity within its 18 million inhabitants. The majority are Muslim. There is also a big group of Eastern Orthodox. Mumbiela says he sees the country as whole prioritizing peace and coexistence.