ASIA/MONGOLIA - The Apostolic Prefect: "With the first priest, the Church in Mongolia is a mother who gives birth to a child"

Monday, 29 August 2016 priests   local churches   evangelization   missionaries  


Ulaanbaatar (Agenzia Fides) - "I thank the Lord who has called me to serve him through priesthood. I am also grateful to all the people who helped me to answer this call. I hope there will soon be other vocations to priesthood and consecrated life among the youth in Mongolia": are the words of Father Joseph Enkh, still excited, during the celebration of his ordination held yesterday, August 28, in Ulaanbaatar (see Fides 26/08/2016). "It was an unforgettable day in the history of the Catholic Church in Mongolia", reports Fr. Prosper Mbumba, Congolese missionary who works in the Asian country, who describes the atmosphere of great joy and intense prayer lived by the local community. "The ordination of father Joseph Enkh makes us more aware of the grace of God that works in our young church in Mongolia" he said.
Bishop Wenceslao Padilla, Apostolic Prefect in the country, who followed the spiritual growth of Joseph and the entire Church in Mongolia with perseverance, reborn 24 years ago, told Fides: "Having a young Mongolian ordained to priesthood for the local Church is like giving birth: she is a young mother who gives birth to her first child. Let us pray and trust that Father Joseph Enkh is faithful to his vocation, takes up his cross daily, and follows Christ always, in every circumstance of his life". In his homily, Bishop Wenceslao Padilla in fact focused on the Gospel passage chosen by Fr. Enkh for his ordination: "Deny yourself, take up your cross daily and follow me" (Lk 9, 23). He recalled that "the Lord has made possible what seemed to be impossible", inviting the assembly "to continue to trust in God".
Over 40 concelebrants, while more than 1,500 people participated in the historic event, including officials, civilian and diplomatic authorities. Abbot Dambajav, of the Buddhist monastery of Dashi Lin Choi was also present, who addressed words of encouragement to the young priest, confirming that "Buddhists have good relations with Catholics. We learn from them, and they learn from us. We are happy that one of us Mongolians became a priest in this church. "The Buddhist leader then placed a blue silk stole around the newly ordained priest's neck, that, in the Buddhist tradition, symbolizes the sky and, therefore, signifies purity, good will, good omen and compassion: the gesture was applauded by all the participants.
Fr. Joseph today celebrated his first Mass in the same Cathedral of St. Peter and Paul in Ulaanbaatar. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 29/08/2016)