Australian Catholic Church’s Mission Sunday to focus on Mongolia
Though a small group, Catholics have set up facilities for orphans, the destitute and elderly, medical clinics in a country with little health infrastructure and various educational centers too.
The focus of the Catholic Mission Australia for World Mission Day celebrated on October 20 will be the growth of the world’s youngest church, the Catholic Church in Mongolia, established 20 years ago after the fall of communism.
Catholic Mission has supported the Mongolian Church since its beginning and contributed to the construction of the first church three years after the arrival of the first foreign missionaries of the Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Father Wenceslao Padilla, who was one of them, is now the Bishop of Mongolia.
When Padilla arrived in 1992, Mongolia was mainly inhabited by nomadic shepherds who had little knowledge of Christianity. Alcoholism, domestic abuse, very precarious public social services and extreme poverty were rampant. Today there are six Catholic churches, all in the capital of the vast and remote nation of less than 3 million inhabitants.
In his pastoral letter marking 20 years of the Church in Mongolia, Bishop Padilla noted that there were now 81 missionaries from 22 different countries and Mongolia's first two native seminarians were being trained for priesthood in South Korea’s Daejeon.
Though a small group, Catholics have set up facilities for orphans, the destitute and elderly and medical clinics in a country with little health infrastructure. They run various educational and technical schools too.
From September to November, the parishes across Australia will share by mail and online campaigns the journey of faith of Bishop Padilla.
Martin Teulan, National Director of Catholic Mission, issued a statement showing his appreciation towards the progress of the Church in Mongolia, where most of the followers do not come from Catholic families, nor had they heard of Jesus.
The statement said that one of the main challenges of the Catholic Church in Mongolia was that there were no local priests and nuns. The Church relied on local catechists for teaching materials and methods for the inculturation of the Gospel in the daily life of the Mongols. Catholic Mission supported the formation and the work of catechists and seminarians and many development projects for the poor.
"I think the story of Bishop Padilla and the incredible impact of the Catholic Church in Mongolia will be a great inspiration for Catholics throughout Australia", said the National Director’s statement.
Among the initiatives of Catholic Mission in favour of the Church in Mongolia, there is a DVD titled ‘I will build my Church’.
Source: Agenzia Fides