Message from Fr Tad – Russia!

Assignment: Russia

On October 6, 2010, I arrived in St. Petersburg. In Russia. A country apparently well known, right? Not necessarily. A newcomer is likely to meet with numerous surprises here, even in that second largest city of Russia, and its “cultural capital”, as it is called due to its significant historical heritage, and, definitely, “the most western” Russian city, as far as its character is concerned. St. Petersburg is located at the mouth of the Neva River to the Gulf of Finland. The city is relatively young, it was founded in the beginning of the 18th century, when Tsar Peter I, called Peter the Great later, defeated the Swedes in the 12-year-war, and in the captured territory on the Baltic coast built a stronghold first, and then a city, which was later to become the country’s capital. The only Catholic major priestly seminary has its residence here, as well as the management of the SVD Ural Region, which includes Russia and Belarus. There are 11 confreres in St. Petersburg SVD community. The other SVDs are working in such Russian towns and cities as Gvardejsk near Kaliningrad, Moscow, Volgograd, Tambov, Irkutsk and Blagoveshtshensk, and Baranovitchi in Belarus. The area is huge and merely 40 SVDs are working there. What are their tasks? To minister to the Catholic population, which counts approximately about 1 million people, and to help realise various social projects connected with the upkeep of poor families and disabled persons, as well as immigrants whose number in Russia is steadily growing, especially in the areas bordering on Asian countries (among them the former Soviet republics) and in big cities, like Moscow and St. Petersburg. The native population keeps decreasing, which may be the result of a faulty family policy of the present government, as well as of the “sovietisation” of the country in the proceeding time of the country’s history. Most Russians declare that they belong to the Orthodox Church, even though there are quite few truly practicing- hence an expression used to refer to such lukewarm or seeming Christians: “Orthodox atheists”. The Roman Catholic Church in Russia is represented by the SVDs, Dominicans, Franciscans, Jesuits and Salesians. They came to Russia soon after the split of The Soviet Union and its fall in the nineties, in result of the so-called political and religious “meltdown”. Nowadays, a kind of stiffening of the authorities’ attitude toward the religious and clergy can be noticed, especially those coming from abroad, by introducing all kinds of administrative procedures and limitations visa and stay refusals, as well as not allowing the Church administration to be established in the country. There are not enough native Russians in the Church hierarchy, most of the leading posts are held by foreigners, for example the Archbishop of Moscow and St. Petersburg is an Italian, Rev. Paolo Pezzi. We have been facing all kinds of difficulties attempting to legally regaining the ownership of the church property, nationalized after the October Revolution, which is a condition to start the renovation of the BV Mary Visitation Parish Church (see: ). The SVD Ural Region is the only unit of the Society in Europe that has to be subsidized by the SVD General Management. What is more, the Orthodox Church has rather an ill-willing attitude toward Catholic missionaries. The Orthodox Church leaders view them as a kind of threat to the integrity of their Church, willing to take over members of their denomination. It is, in fact, not true, yet the Orthodox leaders keep exerting a kind of moral pressure on Russia’s authorities to force them make the situation of the Roman Catholic Church uncertain and difficult. On the other hand, the presence of Catholic missionaries constitutes a challenge to the Orthodox Church, letting them introduce practices rather not known or at least uncommon, like teaching religion to their young believers, which has always been strength of our Church. We do believe that even this is a positive aspect of our presence in Russia. Divine Word missionaries work in the seminary, they are also active in the local diocesan Church carrying out works connected with our charisma, like taking care of national minorities and the disabled or addicts.
Fr. Tadeusz Panek svd


Message from Fr Tad – Poem for his Jubilee

A very warm welcome to Father Tad

A very warm welcome to Father Tad
His presence here it makes us glad
From Russia with love every July
To sunny England he does fly.

He lights up our church with his smile
The way he bounds down in the aisle
To say to us “Peace be with you”
A handshake that is firm and true.

On hot days he keeps him cool
Visiting Biggleswade swimming pool
He swims the breadth and then the length
To build up stamina and strength.

We look forward to his homily
On the day of his jubilee
25 years he has served our Lord
Not one day has he ever been bored.

We wish him well for his future goals
Doing good and saving souls
Maybe one day we will see
His golden or diamond jubilee.

From St. Petersburg to St. Peter’s
Thousands of long kilometres
We lift our glasses and we say
Father Tad, “Na zdroviye”!


Message from Fr Tad – Battle of Russia

“Battle of Russia”

Help restore Russia’s Christian faith! There has been a religious vacuum in Russia since the fall of the Soviet Union, most Russians remain atheists- yet the Russian Orthodox Church which wishes to be regarded as Russia’s only genuine and national Church and restore Christianity in this country, fails to fulfil that role satisfactorily. Other churches, the Roman Catholic Church among them, want to help, yet with the Russian Orthodox Church’s hostile attitude and without the government’s full approval and support they fall short of their task to help spread and strengthen Christianity in Russia. The Society of the Divine Word is present on the Russian religious scene, working actively on the vast territory from St. Petersburg in the west till Blagoveshtshensk, on the Chinese border, in the Russian Far East. There is a shortage of people willing to co-operate, there is a shortage of financial means. Due to official statistics, in 2025 Russia will need at least 10 million immigrants to fill all jobs, for the number of the native people decreases severely. The majority of immigrants will surely come from Asia, from the former Soviet republics, bringing along with them the faith they profess- the Islam. Are you going to allow Russia, once Christian, to become another Islamic country because of the lack of Christian support. Help us win the Battle of Christian Russia!
Steyler Bank, Sankt Augustin, Germany; Konto-Nr. 12 0985, BLZ: 386 215 00, BIC: GENODED1STB
IBAN: DE 89 3862 1500 0000 1209 85


Apostleship of the Sea

Apostleship of the Sea collection raised nearly £350 for this very important charity that supports all foreign people working on merchant ships to make contact with their family and loved ones back home and ensures that fair and decent working conditions are maintained. Considering that 95% of all British trade is carried by sea the physical and spiritual needs of the seafarers is paramount; thank you for your contribution.

Biggleswade Chronicle Church Notices

Last Sunday’s gospel was from Mark. There are four gospels in the New Testament that narrates the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. This chapter ascribes the time that Jesus returned to his native town after a long absence. Sadly, he was rejected by his old neighbours and townspeople, they could not accept his wisdom nor the rumours about the miraculous healings that he had performed.  To do so they would have had to accept that they had somehow been blind to the prophet in their midst and they would have to admit this to one another. Maybe they were afraid of doing that. Who was this man to challenge the status quo?  This shows how apt people are to undervalue what is familiar to them, and brings into play the proverb ‘familiarity breeds contempt’ written by  prose writer  Apuleius who lived c125-180 AD.  

St Peters is very glad to welcome Fr. Tad (a visiting priest from Poland) who will be here for the next 3 weeks to take Mass at weekends and during the week whilst Fr. Eamon is taking his summer holiday. 
Volunteers are required to organise refreshments after 10am Sunday Mass.


Biggleswade Chronicle Village News

The Gospel of (Mark 4:26-34) the 11th Sunday in Ordinary Time beholds two parables. The first refers to sowing and fruit bearing, the second illustrates the growth of the God’s kingdom from something hidden and minute to something fully visible. The mustard plant presents a contrast between the smallness of the present kingdom and the relative largeness of it in its fullness. Jesus chooses a common plant to describe how the kingdom could be working its way into something amazingly large from the tiniest whisper of a beginning. At that time, together both parables would be mystifying to some but for those who followed Jesus were given further insight, these were represented by the birds taking shade in the shrub and were in fact the Disciples; the hungry listeners.

Last weekend Father Martin conducted both Masses on Sunday he was here to help Fr.Eamon who unfortunately is poorly again, please pray for his recovery.

The Market Stall was a wonderful success and raised £190; Thank you to all who helped with baking and on the day.
Royal Race Night Friday 22nd June 7.30pm.Volunteers are needed to help out making Coffee after 10 am Mass on a 8-10 week rota, please see church porch for further details.

St.Peter’s website your input/suggestion for new or different web pages, please contact Chris at

Churches Together Olympic Torch Service Sunday 8th July 10.30am location tbc.

Churches Together Sports Quiz Saturday 21st July at Weatherley Centre.

Biggleswade Chronicle Village News

St. Peter’s Catholic Church. Biggleswade.
Last Sunday celebrated the feast of Corpus Christi. The festival of Corpus Christi celebrates the Eucharist as the body of Christ. The name 'Corpus Christi' is Latin for 'the body of Christ'. This jubilant festival is celebrated to proclaim the truth of the transubstantiation of bread and wine into the actual body and blood of Christ during Mass. 1.The human person cannot live without the experience of divine love and human love.  The human person cannot live without the experience of divine intimacy and human intimacy.  The human person cannot live without communion.  Man becomes fully realized in communion because he is created for communion by a God who is the most perfect communion (1.From the Vatican website).

Sixteen children took their First Holy Communion on Saturday 9th June. The church was packed with their families, friends and parishioners to celebrate with the children in receiving the Holy Sacrament. Please pray for them and the Catechists who gave their time freely for several months to ensure the children were fully prepared for this wonderful day and for those who worked extremely hard to ensure that everyone enjoyed refreshments thereafter.
Saturday 16thCarmel in Bedfordshire – Visit to Monastery of Discalced Carmelite Nuns in Ware, Hertfordshire. Start time has been brought forward from 10 am to 9.30, all places now taken.
Also, on the 16th  at 1pm a Mass of thanksgiving at Northampton Cathedral for 50thAnniversary.
Royal Race night Friday 22nd June, 7.30pm - Fun night with Wine Tasting, Ladies Fancy Hat & Gents Waistcoat competitions.
Further details see church porch or email

Website Update

I'm going to streamline the website, removing pages which I think are out of date or are not used. If you have any suggestions or requirements for a page (or more) on this website, do let me know.


Biggleswade Chronicle

St.Peter’s Catholic Church, Biggleswade.Last Sunday was Trinity
Sunday,it is celebrated a week after Pentecost Sunday also known as
Holy Trinity Sunday and is one of the central mysteries of our faith.
We can never fully understand the mystery of the Trinity, but we can
sum it up in the following formula: God is three Persons in one. The
three Persons of God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—are all equally God,
and They cannot be divided. We do believe in one God, just as we say
in the Creed, but He is three persons.

Saturday 9th June St Peters Market Stall, scrumptious home-made cakes
for sale. 

Saturday 16th June Carmel in Bedfordshire - Visit to
Monastery of Discalced Carmelite Nuns in Ware, Hertfordshire. To
celebrate Mass, lunch and a talk by the Nuns, car share; 9.30am start.

Friday 22nd June, 7.30pm Royal Race Night- Fun night with Wine
Tasting, Ladies Fancy Hat & Gents Waistcoat competitions.

Further details see church porch or email

Biggleswade Chronicle Village News

St.Peter’s Catholic Church, Biggleswade.
Pentecost Sunday is one of the most ancient feasts of the Church, after Easter Sunday, Christmas is the second-greatest feast in the Christian liturgical calendar, but Pentecost Sunday is not far behind. For that reason, it is often called the "the birthday of the Church”. Like Easter Sunday Pentecost is a moveable date but the earliest possible date for Pentecost Sunday is May 10; the latest is June 13. Pentecost is 50 days after Easter and 10 days after the Ascension of Our Lord, and marks the descent of the Holy Spirit/Ghost on the apostles. The Apostles and the Blessed Virgin Mary spent nine days in prayer between The Ascension of Our Lord and Pentecostal Sunday waiting for the fulfilment of Christ's promise to send His Spirit. This was the origin of the Novena, or nine-day prayer, to ask God the Father to send the Holy Spirit and to prepare us to receive the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit which are wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude (or courage), knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord. On this day St. Peter, the first pope, was already the leader and spokesman for the Apostles.
Diamond Jubilee Fun Day on Tuesday 5th June 2-6pm, organised by Churches Together Biggleswade & Biggleswade Town Council to be held at Eagle Farm Road Field. Many free activities including Fairground rides-Games & Competitions - Arena Events - Live Music. St.Peter’s is organizing and cooking the BBQ, your help is needed to set up, cook, serve and clean up.
Homemade Cakes needed for Market Stall on Saturday 9th June.
Royal Race Night-Friday 22nd June Hat competition for Ladies & Waistcoat completion for Gents.
For information on all events please see Church Porch for further details.
See Older Posts...

This site uses cookies. Some of the cookies we use are essential for parts of the site to operate and have already been set. You may delete and block all cookies from this site, but parts of the site may not work. To find out more about cookies on this website, see our Privacy Policy.

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash