Interview for Radio Maria, Sankt Petersburg, offered by Mr. Andrei Bolocan, director of Caritas Moldova.

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The interview was offered for chief editor of the „Radio Maria”,  Alexey Pirogov

On November 1st 2017, during his working visit in Sankt Petersburg, Andrei Bolocan, director of Caritas Moldova, offered an interview for the chief editor of Radio Maria, Alexey Pirogov.

*See below the translated content of the interview.
Radio Maria” is an international radio with a program grid aimed to promote the Catholic belief; it was founded in 1983 in one of the local Italian parishes in Como. This radio has the aim to gospel and to help lay persons to pray during Holy Mass. In 1987 was established the staff of the radio which was compound of priests and laymen. Radio Maria is helped by volunteers and financially supported by the listeners. 
 
Radio Maria airs on all the continents, in approx. 40 countries. In Europe Radio Maria is present in 16 countries including Russia, Romania, Ukraine, Poland, Belorussia, Austria, and Germany. In Russia this radio has a diverse program grid: 30 % are programmes with religious content, including the live broadcasts of Masses (catholic and orthodox), 30% culture programmes and 30% – programmes that reflect the social life and of course Christian music. 
 

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Alexey Pirogov: Let’s talk about charity. In our country the activity of Caritas Sankt-Petersburg is very well known. I remember the story of a musician who got an apartment in the years after “perestroika” and the same time lost his job. I met him and he told me: “I want to thank Caritas. Two years I couldn’t find a job. I couldn’t arrange my apartment; I didn’t have a bed to sleep. Two years I was going with a jug to the Caritas soup kitchen. I survived thanks to Caritas and I am not ashamed to say this”. That is why the activity of Caritas is well known to the citizens of Sankt-Petersburg. I would like to know from you, as a director, what is Caritas doing in Moldova? How does the activity develop? How was it founded?

Andrei Bolocan: thank you for the question. First of all Alexey, let me thank you for this meeting, for introducing me to Radio Maria and its staff. This makes me think about many things including why this radio is not yet present in the Republic of Moldova. Caritas is well known in Moldova as well. Charity Foundation Caritas Moldova was founded in 1995 by the Bishop of Chisinau, H.E. Anton Cosa. Our work in oriented in 4 strategic activity directions: educational and social assistance for children and youth from disadvantaged families, medical- social homecare, aid for homeless people. Our activity is progressing not only thanks to selfless work of our employees and volunteers, but also thanks to the donations from our European partners. Our donors are: Caritas Vienna, Caritas Austria, caritas Germany, Caritas Czech, Caritas Romania, and Caritas Poland. Of course our activity is based on fundamental Christian principles. Indeed we are a Catholic organization but we always remember that we work in a country which is mainly Orthodox and we do not choose our beneficiaries on religious reasons, nor political or any other. Our activity is spread on the whole territory of our country, including Transnistria. We have created collaboration partnerships with the local authorities. On both banks of the river Nistru we have Day Centers for children and youth from disadvantaged families. Our Day Centers are located in Balti, Tiraspol, Ribnita, Rascov, Sloboda – Rascov. Also we have a Night Shelter for homeless “St .Stefan” which was opened thanks to the financial and spiritual support of the Cardinal of Vienna, H.E. Christof  Schonborn. The financial support continues up until present. Daily 20- 30 persons receive shelter there. Homeless people who ask for help at the shelter first of all go through a full health check; they are being examined of infectious diseases like TB, syphilis, skin diseases etc. The shelter offers showers, clean clothes and bed linen. Also they get warm breakfast and dinner; the social worker helps them to reintegrate in the family and society. If necessary we search for their relatives and advise them to take care of them. All in all we have good results. The fourth direction of our activity is the homecare for elderly lonely people. It’s not a secret that many young people leave abroad for work, to Russia, Europe. The youth leaves but the elderly remain without any support. Usually neighbors of these elderly address to us for help. Then our social assistant goes to this person and makes a full study of this person’s situation. This person is also visited by one of our nurses who takes care that doctor’s recommendations are followed. The social assistant does all the work related to housekeeping, cooking and feeding. Caritas Moldova is known as well as the Red Cross is. When one says Caritas it means that someone will come for help. 

Alexey Pirogov:  You are doctor. Does this profession help you in your work at Caritas?

Andrei Bolocan: Yes it does. The main task of a doctor is to help the one who suffers. At the Medicine University we were taught to work in that way to lighten others; we were taught to work just like the Russian doctors from the times of the Tzarist Russia who were healing not only the body but also souls. The doctor knew the family, the situation, he prescribed medications but also he gave advices to solve problems. Therefore the social worker is a doctor who helps the one who suffers. 

Alexey Pirogov: In the present is being prepared the beatification of the doctor Friedrich Haass. This doctor is an example that doctors don’t only heal physical diseases but also many soul sufferings, including of those who are not religious. I think that Caritas is an organization which preaches mercy; and this is very important nowadays when everything is being measured with money. 

Friedrich Haass was born in Cologne, Germany in 1780. In 1806 he moved to Russia. He was a doctor for the sick in prisons. He was deeply religious and struggled for the rights of prisoners regarding the access to Holy Bible, prayer, confession and communion. Thanks to the requests of Dr.Haass, in prisons started the organization of Masses for the prisoners. He fought against the right of landlords to expel the serfs; he obtained that more comfortable cuffs are maid fore ill, old prisoners and children and negotiated upon facilitating the transfer of prisoners. “Hurry to do good!”-  Dr. Hass was saying. He was a powerful Catholic and helped people of different nationalities, religions and cultures. Nowadays studies are made upon his personality to be declared Saint. 

*The complete interview you can listen on the  „Radia Maria” website from Sankt Petersburg.