ASIA/MONGOLIA - Cardinal Marengo: “Lent is about prayer and reconciliation”

Friday, 23 February 2024 lent   reconciliation   prayer  

Ulaanbaatar (Agenzia Fides) - "Our small Catholic community in Mongolia is experiencing this season of Lent with great intensity. The nine parish communities have launched their pastoral and spiritual programs. We have tuned in to the theme of prayer, in this Year of Prayer, that the Pope proclaimed in preparation for the Holy Year," said the Apostolic Prefect of Ulaanbaatar, Cardinal Fr. Giorgio Marengo, to Fides. "At the same time," he continues, "Lent always has a particularly interesting aspect because it begins in accordance with the Lunar New Year. This year, the Mongolian calendar coincided with the dates used in Korea and China. The New Year celebration took place at the weekend, and the following week Lent began with Ash Wednesday. On the one hand, the New Year is a time of abundance and celebration, not renunciation; on the other, it brings with it values that are deeply in tune with the Gospel, such as renewal, for example. Everything must be new with a view to a real and deep renewal, not just external".
"There must be reconciliation - underlines the Apostolic Prefect - so that everything that was experienced in the previous year, some disagreement or some tension, is left behind and we begin again with peaceful relations. A second aspect is the time in which we all turn one year more, because winter is behind us and we honor the elderly as bearers of collective wisdom. In this sense there is also harmony for us Christians, considering fathers as the spiritual mothers to whom we should turn more to during Lent".
The Mongolian community feels closely connected to the Holy See, he emphasizes: "We translated Pope Francis' Lenten message into Mongolian and distributed it on Ash Wednesday. I would also like to mention that Mongolian has recently officially become the 52nd language in which the Vatican news is distributed. Now we have this platform on which, for the moment, we can translate the Pope's Wednesday catechesis and Sunday Angelus on a weekly basis. It is the heritage of the Pope's teaching that people can consult: we try to treasure what Pope Francis reminds us of in this season of Lent".
"I would like to emphasize once again the discourse on new, reconciled relationships," the Cardinal continues, "because this is precisely what the reflection on peace is based on, which unfortunately seems to be under discussion in so many parts of the world. The call of the New Year helps us to take this step: for peace to come, each of us must start with our own relationships, being workers and sowers of peace ourselves. It is, therefore, an invitation to commit ourselves to peace based on our own personal conversion".
On March 5, the Church will hold a Lenten retreat for priests, religious and missionaries in Mongolia, which will also be attended by the Abbot General of the Cistercian Order, Father Mauro Giuseppe Lepori. Finally, at the level of charitable works, the Commission for Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation is trying to take measures to help farmers in need due to particularly heavy snowfalls. "In just a few days, a farmer can lose almost all of his livestock because the animals are literally submerged in snow. We are trying to understand what concretely can be done for them: this could be one of the commitments that we would like to characterize our Lent of fraternity", concludes Cardinal Marengo. (PA) (Agenzia Fides, 23/2/2024)