ASIA/MONGOLIA - In Mongolia rescued street children at Catholic centre pray every day for the Pope who is a point of reference for their fledging faith

Tuesday, 1 March 2005

Ulan Bator (Fides Service) -Mongolian children rescued by Catholic missionaries from life on the streets and in the sewers of Ulan Bator, pray every day for the Pope. They know him and see him as a “grandfather”, a point of reference for their fledging faith, said Father Gilbert Sales, a Scheut missionary working in Mongolia since 1996 where he cares for street children.
“Many of the 123 children at our Verbist Caring Center - Father Sales told Fides - come to the Good Shepherd parish church next door to pray for the Pope. The children are aged between 2 and 21. We go in search of them in the city sewers ad rescue them from a life of drug addiction and prostitution. At our home we give them food and a bed and also schooling, but we do not talk about religion. However some of them, seeing the witness offered by priests, religious and lay people at the Centre, begin to ask about the faith and come with us when we go to church. Then they start coming to catechism classes. Over the past days more children have been coming to pray in church in the evening. Although they have never seen him, they know who the Pope is and they love him, he is like a grandfather for them; he is a point of reference for their fledging faith”.
Father Gilbert told Fides: “We are praying for the Holy Father, for his health. All 180 of the Catholics in Mongolia go to pray every day in the churches in Ulan Bator: we pray that God’s will may be done in his life”.
“Non believers are also concerned for the Pope whom they respect as a great spiritual leader, a man of peace”, said Father Gilbert. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 1/3/2005 righe 20 parole 206)