Ulaanbatar (Agenzia Fides) - In the fall of the communist regime in 1991, there were no Catholics in Mongolia. In 2006 there were 600, including 350 native Mongolians, and the country's first vocation was born in 2008. Now, thanks to the presence of Vietnamese Salesian missionaries, the process of evangelization of the Catholic Church in Mongolia is being renewed. In 1992, the new constitution which recognizes freedom of religion, different Salesian priests of Vietnam are dedicated to the revival of the local church, they have built places of worship and helped the population after decades of dictatorship. Currently, despite the Catholic community still being small, the local Church carries out a great work of assistance, promoting educational opportunities for all and promoting the participation in new and creative social activities.
The mission of the Vietnamese Salesians today has a kindergarten, a technical training school, social canteens, two farms and a reception center for 120 disabled children. The Salesians groups that deal with social activities help street children in the capital, Ulaanbatar, and women victims of abuse. In 2002 Pope John Paul II appointed the first Bishop of the region, Mgr. Wenceslao Padilla, missionary filipino CICM (Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary), who led in the beginning the missio sui iuris (1992), and was then appointed Apostolic Vicar (2002) and then Apostolic Prefect of Ulaanbaatar (2003). Among other initiatives, in 1997 the Cathedral of St. Peter and Paul was completed. In 2004 the first edition of the Bible in Mongolian language was published, as well as several books of prayers. Currently about sixty missionaries from different countries are working in Mongolia and four parishes have been erected, the last in 2007 in the industrial city of Darhan, north of the country. (AP) (Agenzia Fides 15/2/2012)