Ulanbaatar, Mongolia, 25 October 2019 -- For a whole week, the three Salesian missionaries (from Slovakia province) from the Yakustsk mission have enjoyed their fraternal visit to the Mongolia Delegation (Delegate Fr. Paul Leung) in Darkhan, Ulanbaatar and Shuwuu. Fr Pavol Michalka, Fr Marian Peciar and Fr Jozef Toth are the three missionaries from Slovakia, and together with the recently arrived practical trainees (from Rwanda and India) form the most Northern Salesian community in Asia. Thanks to the long term dream of Fr Jozef Toth who served during the early years in Mongolia, and with the support from the superiors on both sides the historic meeting and sharing finally took place from 14-21 October 2019.
The Yakustsk missionaries travelled by car and visited the Darkhan community from 14-16 October, and then the community at Ulanbaatar, where they stayed for some days. In those days we (the confreres from Mongolia) guided them in visiting the beauty of Mongolia and also our mission as well. We also had some nice gatherings since Fr Jozef Toth still knows many of our staff here. We also discussed some possibilities for our future collaboration and I promised them that we shall go to visit them in the future. We really had very nice gatherings as one family. And we think these two places can have closer relationships and more collaboration. And in fact we invited them to join our next annual retreat (2020) which will be guided by Fr Pascual Chavez. Some from the Yakustsk mission may come to join us for that retreat.
There are many similarities among the two North Asia missions - the Yakutsk mission opened in 1992 and Mongolia in 2001, both large territories with small populations, far from any other Catholic and Salesian communities, and with very young and small Catholic communities. Both have a challenging climate and extreme weather (Yakutsk - 60C and Mongolia - 50C during the long winter season, and during summer up to 40+ C). Very challenging situations.
Fr. Joseph Toth comments: "Thank you so much for the inspiration and for pushing for this meeting. After 3 years we did it. The distance between Ulanbaatar and Yakutisk is more than 3,000 km, but the heart of Don Bosco is larger... And over these days we have just planned the future visit of Don Bosco Mongolia to Yakutia.
We pray for all Salesian missionaries and the Salesian Family in both these extreme peripheries of North East Asia!