|School Sisters of St. Frances
Tlendiev St. (former Sofia Kovalevska St.) 9
Roman Catholic parish of the Holy Trinity has been officially existing in Almaty since 1975, since administration's permission to register the local catholic community. The catholic community had secretly existed before registration as well. It was founded with arrival in Kazakhstan catholic migrants-German, Poles, Ukrainians and the believers of other nationalities. Firstly, religious life was prohibited. Administration forbade meetings for praying, people gathered secretly, at nights with fear of betraying.
In 1965 Greek Catholic priest Fr. Uriy Potereiko arrived in Almaty. Having been in Stalin camps, he was prohibited to work in Ukraine, his native land. In the beginning Fr. Uriy worked as a watchman in one of the city enterprises. He worked at the daytime and at nights he visited secretly catholic communities where he led Holy Mass, christened, married and confessed.
After community's registration in 1975, the believers bought a small house with their money in Almaty. It served them as a church. But soon the house became too small for people, wanting to take part in public worships. In 1978 the believers had to buy another house bigger than the first one. It was rebuilt and used as a small church, which looked as a usual dwelling house from the outside, but about 200 people could meet there. The house was, of course, too small for the believers. In 1980th the believers had a dream to build new and more comfortable church, but a lot of German believers, who had been the base of the parish, moved to Germany when the Reorganization began and western borders became free.
In 1985 young priest Fr. Rimantas Micolas Letcayskas from Lithuania, whom people called just Fr. Michael, came on the place of old Fr. Uriy Potereiko. There was a lot of work to do for only one priest. Besides the parish in Almaty, the catholic communities were also registered in Issik (50 km. from Almaty), in Talgar (25 km.), in Taldi-Kyrgan (250 km.) and in addition there were small non-registered communities in Nicolaevka, Oktabrskie and other villages as well.
In 1992 Fr. Claudius Michalski, who became Fr. Michael's assistant, had arrived in Almaty from Poland. Later, in August of 1993, Fr. Alex Zlamal (Czech), 3 sisters (Slovaks) from congregation of St. Francis school sisters: sr. Victoria, sr. Regina, sr. Lea and laywoman Maria Chlachylova (Czech), who soon joined the order of the school sisters, arrived. After that Fr. Michael with sisters from Lithuania left for their native land and Fr. Claudius was appointed the prior of the parish.
On November 4, 1993 two brothers Franciscans Fr. Henry Chowaniec, American, and brother Diego Kim, Korean, arrived. Soon after their arrival Br. Diego opened charitable outpatients' clinic where Korean untraditional medicine was practiced.
In 1994 Fr. Claudius began working over a project of a new church building near old prayer house.
In October of 1994 Fr. Calicst Salak from Poland joined Franciscan community and started working with the believers in the villages, increasing the number of the villages where he worked till 18.
In April of 1995 the new church building was begun. On October 29 the ceremony of the corner stone dedication took place. Archbishop Marian Oles led there a public worship and with Bishop Jan Paul Lenga and orthodox Almaty archbishop Alexia blessed the beginning of the building.
On July 26, 1996 Fr. Gvido Tretsani arrived from Novosibirsk to work in Almaty. On September 29 Bishop during solemn Mass in honor of the first vows of sisters Maria Gynger and Michaila Chlachylova appointed Fr. Gvido a prior of the parish.
On December 25, 1997 the public worship was led in the new though unfinished church for the first time. Since that day Sunday mass is constantly led there.Since May of 1998 children's home has been working in the parish where 15 children, having been taken from the city boarding school 8, live. In the work of the children's home laymen help the priest and sisters. Within a few days before the church dedication Jan Paul Lenga sanctified 3 bells-a present of Slovak believers and their president.
On June 7, 1998 in presence of Apostolic nuncio His Holiness archbishop Marian Oles, secretary of Italian bishop conference His Holiness archbishop Ennio Antonelli, Apostolic Administrator of Kazakhstan His Holiness bishop Jan Paul Lenga, lots of priests, representatives of the republican and municipal administration archbishop Zenon Grocholevskiy sanctified newly built church in honor of Holy Trinity. Relics of holy Akvili and Priskilli, Apostle Paul's collaborators, which had been brought by archbishop Antonelli from Vatican, were put into altar during dedication. On January 30, 1999 the dining room for the poor was officially opened.