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Since fall of Berlin Wall, Missio works to unite Western, Eastern Churches

Berlin Wall 1974

Berlin Wall 1974

To mark the 20th anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall, the National Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies in Austria, 'Missio Austria', Fr  Leo M Maasburg, reflected on the legacy of Communism.

Fr Leo said: “Communism was especially characterized by three aspects: the lack of respect for life, lack of respect for the truth and the lack of a sense of beauty. Lenin said: 'Communism is atheism' and and this is the aggressive atheism that the churches and believers experienced, with all its harshness. "

Fr Leo personally risked arrest several times during his missions in the countries of Eastern Europe, "The shadowing, the suppression of personal opinion, persecution, torture and death: this is what was faced on a daily basis by people who would not betray their faith. Especially for them, the fall of the wall was a liberation. The wall fell 20 years ago, but we must not forget that today the number of brutally persecuted Christians around the world is even greater.”

After his ordination, Fr Maasburg was asked to collaborate in the evangelization of the former Soviet Union. When Mother Teresa, whom he served as spiritual guide, founded the first houses in Moscow and Armenia in 1988, he was the director of the new foundations and became the first Catholic priest to be officially recognized by Soviet authorities. Because of this, his personal experience is especially at the heart of the work carried out by 'Missio Pro Europa.'

Upon the request of the Austrian Bishops' Conference, 'Missio Pro Europa' is responsible for the contacts for projects in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, from whence hundreds of requests for aid come in every year. The Catholic Church offers the countries of Eastern Europe, particularly suffering from the consequences of the current economic crisis, major social and pastoral services.

'Missio Pro Europe' seeks to put into practice the  Christian concept of solidarity and love by supporting many projects, including the 'Schools for Europe' in Bosnia-Herzegovina. 'Missio Pro Europe' continues the long tradition of the Austrian Church's support for Eastern countries, begun in 1956 with Hungary. The organization, founded by the Austrian bishops in 1996, has been part of the Pontifical Mission of Austria (Missio Austria) since 2002 and intends to build bridges between Christians in Western and Eastern Europe.

Source: Fides