Ulaanbaatar (Agenzia Fides) - "2017 marks a historic step for the Catholic Church in Mongolia and the Apostolic Prefecture of Ulaanbaatar. In fact, we celebrate a double anniversary: the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the Holy See and the Republic of Mongolia; and the 25th anniversary of the Catholic Church's presence, with the renewed start of the mission in a country which has just gotten out of the socialist system": says to Agenzia Fides Bishop Wenceslao S. Padilla, CICM, Apostolic Prefect and one of the pioneers of the Catholic mission in Mongolia. "With over 1,300 Mongolians baptized and a native priest, there is reason to rejoice here", says African missionary Prosper Mbumba, CICM to Fides, who emphasizes the abundant fruits of this missionary work. The Catholic community counts hundreds of catechumens that come from 6 parishes and 3 missionary stations that will be erected parish in 2017, the year of the celebration of the "Silver Jubilee".
There are currently more than 50 missionaries and religious from 14 countries around the world who "offer their lives in Mongolia, faithful to their vocation to nurture a deep relationship with God and to devote themselves to others", recalls Fr. Mbumba
To make this year's jubilee meaningful, the local Church has organized several activities. Among them, a seminar on themes of Missionary Theology, held from 8 to 12 May, organized in collaboration with the Pontifical Missionary Union, one of the four Pontifical Mission Societies.
"This theological week was meant to offer missionaries, priests, consecrated people, and lay persons the possibility of keeping up their missionary formation in a common deepening experience", explains to Fides Fr. Ernesto Viscardi, missionary of the Consulate and Vicar of the Apostolic Prefecture, delegate for the organization of the course. "The course aimed to develope pastoral programs in a contextualized approach, taking into account the specific cultural and religious traditions of Asia and Mongolia in particular", says Fr. Viscardi, "looking at the pastoral choices and methods of our Apostolic Prefecture and comparing them with the indications of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences".
The course covered issues such as: spirituality for the mission in contemporary Asia; The story of Jesus as the foundation of the mission; inculturation and female experience of the mission; Catholic lay people and the mission of the church; interreligious dialogue in the church's evangelizing mission. The seminar offered a valuable insight for the approximately 60 catechists and lay persons present, who greatly appreciated the content and the reflections proposed. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 13/5/2017)