Ulaanbaatar (Agenzia Fides) - The Apostolic Prefecture of Ulaanbaatar and the Korean Archdiocese in Seoul have signed an agreement to improve missionary cooperation and promote the development of the Church in Mongolia. As Fides learns, the Memorandum of Understanding was signed in Ulaanbaatar on June 6 between the Catholic Education Foundation of the Archdiocese, represented by the Auxiliary Bishop of Seoul Benedict Son Hee-Song, and the Apostolic Prefecture, represented by Bishop Wenceslao Padilla, and includes points like the activity of evangelization, priestly formation, financial support.
According to the agreement, the Foundation will provide one million dollars to the Prefecture of Ulaanbaatar, in the next three years, for pastoral activities. In addition, as support for the formation of future priests, future seminarians of Mongolia will study in the Theological Seminary of Seoul.
Another chapter of the pact is the partnership between St. Mary in Seoul and the first central hospital of Mongolia: it is expected to introduce, thanks to their advanced health systems in use in Korea, practices such as stem cell transplantation and robotic surgery.
As reported to Fides by the Communications Office of the Archdiocese of Seoul, Bishop Son Hee-Song said: "I would like to express my deepest respect and appreciation to Bishop Padilla and all the missionaries in Mongolia who have dedicated themselves to evangelization in such a difficult situation. The Catholic Church of Korea in its history has suffered persecution: this is one of the reasons why the Korean Church has decided to give all possible support for the development of the Mongolian Church".
Bishop Padilla replied: "We are very encouraged by the support from Korea. All of you are a blessing for the Church in Mongolia: this agreement gives us great hope".
Given the current legislation, the Catholic Church in Mongolia has no legal personality but is considered a non-profit organization that cannot have any kind of gain, not even the offerings of masses, and thus is not able to support itself. The missionary activities are strictly regulated. Therefore, all missionaries sent to Mongolia are to receive financial support from their congregation or raise funds from other dioceses.
Over the past 20 years, the Korean Catholic Church has provided 320 million won as financial support for Mongolia and continued to send volunteer doctors. The bases of the agreement just signed were laid in 2013, when Apostolic Prefect Wenceslao Padilla visited Korea. The partnership, now ratified and institutionalized, had already been launched in a profitable way for the formation and studies of Father Joseph Enkh Batata, the Mongolian deacon who will become a priest on August 28 in Ulaanbaatar, and has spent several years in Korea. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 07/06/2016)