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Call to be witnesses for a young Church

By Fr. Andrew Tin Nguyen, SBD
Darkhan, Mongolia

       Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, 13 July 2022 -- In order to prepare for the 30th anniversary of the Catholic Church in Mongolia, out of many activities from 20 to 26 June 2022 in Mongolia at Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral, there has been a week which we called: “Pastoral week” for all ages. And on 9 July, Archbishop Alfred Xuereb, who has been the Apostolic Nuncio to both South Korea and Mongolia since February 2018, together with his Secretary, Our Bishop of Mongolia, Cardinal-elect Giorgio Marengo, with all missionaries of Mongolia and some Mongolian friends, came together at the tomb of our former Bishop Wenceslao Padilla.

       Present for this occasion was one of the three priests who landed in Mongolia 30 years ago (Fr Gilbert from the Philippines), and a number of religious superiors. At 10:00am the Nuncio blessed the new altar beside the tomb then celebrated the holy Mass. The thanksgiving expressed our gratitude to Bishop Wens, a pioneer leader who listened to and followed God’s call for the Mongolian Church.

       Bishop Marengo shared information about our mission, what we are doing… as a dream of Bishop Wens, and how happy Bishop Wens would be seeing us from the Heaven gathered around around him, united, loving each other and humbly serving our Mongolia…

       After holy communion the Nuncio also shared the fact that he was at the funeral mass for Bishop Wens 4 years ago, and one priest poured milk on the tomb… later he learned that the meaning of this was wonderful… when we were born we needed milk to live and grow, and when we die we still need milk in order to live again… this Mongolian tradition is such a meaningful one for us to reflect on, to understand that we are still living even after “death” but in another way.

       The main celebration was on 10 July: by early morning many parishioners had come to the Cathedral from many places, the farthest came from more than 400kms away, carrying food, drinks. Some came and began cooking around the area. By 10:00am many priests were invited to hear confessions around the church. For me this was one of the most beautiful preparations for the celebration. There were so many guests, visitors, many different religious leaders… and the cathedral was full of people!

       The message from the Nuncio was one of gratitude to God, to the pioneers as well to those missionaries still living and working for the mission of the Mongolian Church! His words of gratitude also extended to the local Government, the people, the faithful and all friends around in and out of the country for the prayers, support and concern for this mission.

       Yes, the mission started 30 years ago. It seems a long time but for God it would just seem to be yesterday… and the mission still goes on with many challenges and changes but all in hope, with faith, with sacrifice and witness!

       If we are faithfully proclaiming the Gospel to those who do not know Jesus, there will be challenges. Which means we must be prepared to suffer and be ready to support those whom He sends. Missionaries are not super heroes. They are servants — servants of God, servants of others, and servants of the Word. Missionaries must be first and foremost people of the Word. They must know it, believe it, announce it, and teach it. That’s why we were sent! The call is to be witnesses for Christ.


 
 

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