Ulaanbaatar (Agenzia Fides) - 2017 marks the 25th anniversary of the Catholic Church's presence in Mongolia and 25 years since the liaison of diplomatic relations between the Holy See and Mongolia. As Fides learns, this "Silver Jubilee" was celebrated on July 9, 2017 with a holy mass in the Cathedral of Saint Peter and Paul in Ulaanbaatar. During the celebration of the Silver Jubilee, Bishop Wenceslao Padilla, Apostolic Prefect of Mongolia, expressed his gratitude to God and to all his collaborators for what has been done in the last 25 years and said: "At this point, I can truly say, and I want to cry out to the world, the words of the prophet Isaiah: give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name, let his name be honoured, give word of his doings among the peoples, say that his name is lifted up (Isaiah 12: 4) The God of our fathers has been truly rich in grace, loving, he protected and guided us in every step of our path of faith and our small community of believers in Mongolia". Bishop Wenceslao Padilla also emphasized that "the Church's stability in Mongolia, with its presence in various sectors of society, has always grown and strengthened. The arrival of missionaries of different religious congregations and of different nations, collaboration and the faith of many Mongols contributed to building a solid presence of the Church in Mongolia.
"Mass was concelebrated by over 30 priests, with some special guests as Mgr. Marco Sprizzi, first counselor to the Apostolic Nunciature of South Korea and Mongolia, and Fr. Gilbert Sales, one of the first missionaries who came here in 1992. Many foreign and local officials were present at the event. The Buddhist community was represented by Venerable Dambajav of the Dashchoilin monastery, whose presence was greatly appreciated by the entire Catholic community.
When Mongolia became a democratic country in the early 1990s, the government took the initiative to seek diplomatic relations with the Holy See and asks Catholic missionaries to work in the country. On 4 April 1992 diplomatic relations were established and the first group of missionaries, 3 members of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Congregation (CICM), arrived in Mongolia on 10 July 1992. The first missionaries who arrived in Mongolia were: Father Wencesalo Padilla (now Bishop of Mongolia), Father Robert Goessens (who returned to Japan) and Father Gilbert Sales, currently president of Saint Louis University in Baguio City, in the Philippines.
During the celebration held in UlaanBaatar, Mgr. Marco Sprizzi, recalled that "the Holy See was one of the first States to recognize Mongolia in the international community after its independence. Since then the relationships have been very good. The Pope is concerned about the spiritual and material well-being of the Mongolian people. Since we do not promote our interest, but rather the interest of the people of Mongolia, relations are very good and we continue to serve the people in this country". (MP-PA) (Agenzia Fides, 11/7/2017)