MONGOLIA – The Church celebrates 25 years of presence
After 66 years of communist dictatorship, Mongolia drafted its first constitution in 1992 and religious freedom was recognized for the first time. That same year the country established diplomatic relations with the Holy See, and the Catholic Church established a presence there, with the missionaries of the Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
” 2017 is a historic year for the Catholic Church in Mongolia and for the Apostolic Prefecture of Ulaanbaatar. We celebrate a double anniversary: the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the Holy See and the Republic of Mongolia; and the 25th anniversary of the presence of the Catholic Church, with the renewed beginning of the mission in a country that had just left the socialist system, “says Bishop Wenceslao S. Padilla, Apostolic Prefect and one of the pioneers of the mission Catholic in the Asian country.
“With more than 1,300 baptized Mongolians and a native priest, we have many reasons for joy,” said African missionary, Prospero Mbumba. He highlighted the abundant fruits of this missionary work. The Catholic community has hundreds of catechumens from 6 parishes and three mission stations that will become parishes during 2017 on the occasion of the celebration of the “Silver Jubilee”.
Today, more than 50 missionaries and religious from 14 different countries “offer their lives in Mongolia, faithful to their vocation to cultivate a deeper relationship with God and surrender to their neighbour,” said Father Mbumba.
To commemorate this significant year, the local Church has organized several activities for the mission, including a one week seminar on themes of theology in May. “This Theological Week was intended to offer missionaries, priests, religious and laity the possibility of updating their missionary formation at the same time as offering an experience to deepen the common theme,” explains Father Ernesto Viscardi, missionary of the Consolation and Vicar Of the Apostolic Prefecture, responsible for the organization of the seminary.
“The course has aimed at developing pastoral programs with a contextualized approach, taking into account the cultural and religious traditions of Asia and Mongolia in particular,“ adds Father Viscardi The seminar also discussed topics such as spirituality for a mission in contemporary Asia; culture and the female experience of the mission; the Catholic laity and the mission of the church; interreligious dialogue in the evangelizing mission of the church. The course has deepened the understanding of the 60 Catholic catechists and laity who attended.