PETROPAVLOVSK, Russia, MARCH 19, 2007 ( Construction is under way in the city of Petropavlovsk, in far-eastern Russia, for its first Catholic church.

With the blessing of Bishop Cyryl Klimovicz, of the Diocese of Irkutsk, the new church, like the parish, "is devoted to St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus," said Father Krzystof Kowal during a recent interview with Aid to the Church in Need.

Catholics make up 3% of the 250,000 inhabitants in Petropavlovsk, mostly descendants of those deported from Poland, Lithuania, Belarus and Ukraine during and after World War II.

The new church will replace the small chapel in an old wooden house where the faithful have been meeting since 19

Code: ZE07031927

Date: 2007-03-19