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A silver jubilee for Church in Mongolia

ULAANBAATAR (SE): A celebration held on July 9 in the cathedral of Ss. Peter and Paul in Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia, marked the 25th anniversary of the presence of the Catholic Church in the country and 25 years since diplomatic relations between the Holy See and Mongolia were tied.
Bishop Wenceslao Padilla, the apostolic prefect of Mongolia, expressed his gratitude to God and to all who have given assistance and support during the first 25 years of the reestablishment of the Church in the country after an absence of 95 years.
The Filipino bishop said, “At this point, I can truly say, and I want to cry out to the world the words of the prophet Isaiah: give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name, let his name be honoured, give word of his doings among the peoples, say that his name is lifted up (Isaiah 12:4).”
He continued, saying, “The Church’s stability in Mongolia, with its presence in various sectors of society, has always grown and strengthened. The arrival of missionaries of different religious congregations and of nations, collaboration and the faith of many Mongols contributed to building a solid presence of the Church in Mongolia.”
Fides reported that the Mass was concelebrated by over 30 priests. Bishop Marco Sprizzi, the first counsellor to the apostolic nunciature of South Korea and Mongolia, and Father Gilbert Sales, one of the first missionaries to arrive in the country in 1992 were present as special guests.
Many foreign and local officials also attended the Mass and the Buddhist community was represented by the Venerable Dambajav, from the Dashchoilin Monastery, who was considered as the guest of honour for the occasion.
The first group of missionaries that arrived in Mongolia in 1992 included then-Father Padilla, who later became the bishop; Father Robert Goessens, who has since returned to Japan; and Father Sales, currently the president of St. Louis University in Baguio City, The Philippines.
Father Paul Leung Kon-chiu, a Salesian from Hong Kong, joined the group in 2006 and has been working in the country’s second biggest city of Darkhan.
Bishop Sprizzi said that he believes that the Church in Mongolia has managed to have good relations with the wider community, because it has never promoted its own interests, but rather been attentive to those of the people.

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