In modern times the Catholic Church obtained a presence in Tajikistan through Soviet deportations, and in 1974, churches were opened in Dushanbe (St Joseph Church, Dushanbe) and Qurghonteppa. Most of the early Catholics were Germans of Russian, Ukrainian and Lithuanian origin. Many Catholics fled the 1990s civil war following the Soviet Union collapse. In 1997, Pope John Paul II created a mission sui iuris for the country to be administered by the Institute of the Incarnate Word of Argentina. The Institute sent priests from South America to Tajikistan. In 2003, the Church opened a center and soup kitchen in Dushanbe for homeless children. By 2004, the mission had three parishes, one mission center, five priests, four nuns of the Missionaries of Charity, and its own website. In 2005, three sisters of the Servants of the Lord and Our Lady of Matara came to live in Tajikistan. The Missionaries of Charity started sewing classes for young women in 2006 so they might develop skills and further their education. In July 2007, Father Avila joined with the 22 non-Islamic religious groups in the country to object to a bill that would greatly restrict the activities of religious minorities. In March 2008, many poor and elderly citizens queued at the nuns house in Dushanbe to receive aid from Caritas Tajikistan, Care International and United States Catholic Relief Service to survive the harsh winter. In 2012, there were three Tajiks studying for the priesthood and three who wish to be nuns.