Preparing to celebrate 20 years of presence of the Catholic Church in Mongolia

Preparing to celebrate 20 years of presence of the Catholic Church in Mongolia

The Catholic church in Mongolia has ancient roots. Pope Innocent IV and King Louis IX, sent the first Dominican and Franciscan missionaries to Mongolia in the 13 th century.

Christianity had been practiced since the seventh century, and in the 13 th century western missionaries arrived in the region, like William Rubruck and Giovanni da Pian del Carpine. The leaders of the Mongolian Empire were traditionally tolerant with regard to other religions.

Christianity was a key religious influence, especially through the wives of the Mongolian Khan and the women of the Nestorian Kerait groups. Mongolia was part of the diocese of Peking up to 1840, when it was detached from Peking , and the Apostolic Vicariat of Mongolia took over the Catholic jurisdiction. In 1883 a Vicariate of Inner Mongolia was created and then a mission for Mongolia was started in 1922. Under the communist regime, neither freedom of thought nor to profess any form of religion was allowed. In 1922, the CICM fathers accepted from Pope Pius XI, the mission to restructure the Apostolic Vicariate of Mongolia. But the Soviets invaded Mongolia and prevented the Fathers from entering. Finally, on July 11, 1992, the first three missionaries (one of whom is now the Bishop, Wenceslao Padilla), arrived in the land of the Gengis Khan.

Almost twenty years have passed and there are now about 775 baptised Mongolians in four parishes and six missions. There are ten male and female religious orders, along with members of Fidei Donum and lay missionaries to help the Prefecture in the work of evangelisation. The formation of local catechists is one of the priorities that the bishop follows personally. The bishop also meets the missionaries regularly during the year, especially during the important liturgical seasons, to keep the family spirit alive.

An ad hoc commission has been established to follow the various initiatives planned by all the religious communities, by the parishes and by individual faithful. Notable among these are small publications on the apostolate of each congregation, the updating of the website of the Catholic Church Mission: www.catholicchurch-mongolia.mn , approaching all baptised persons, using all the media and the opening of an elementary school under the supervision of the fma.

 

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