04/15/2013, 00.00
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Directly "touching" the sites where Christ lived inspires Mongolia's small but growing community

Mgr Wenceslao Padilla gives Mongolian Catholics an opportunity to see Christ's witness through his journey to the Holy Land. "Thanks to the bishop's trip we 'visited' the places where Christ showed himself," a young catechist said.

Ulaanbaatar (AsiaNews) - Mgr Padilla's recent visit to the Holy Land was the inspiration for a meeting with a group of Mongol catechists titled 'Witnesses to Christ' that the apostolic prefect to Ulaanbaatar sponsored himself. In a country where missionary activity will mark its 21st year this July, a few pictures of the holy places gave the 20 catechists who took part in the event an opportunity to reflect. "Thanks to the bishop's trip we 'visited' the places where Christ showed himself," a young woman said at the meeting.

As a backdrop, pictures of Mount Tabor, Lake Tiberias, the Jordan River and many other sacred places enabled local Catholics to talk about their own journey of faith. They also gave Mgr Wenceslao Padilla an opportunity to offer his reflection.

"The bishop later spoke about current witnesses, about the last three popes. He referred to John Paul II as the pope of hope, to Benedict XVI as the pope of faith and to Francis as the pope of charity," the aforementioned young catechist said.

Mongolia has about 900 Catholics. During Easter celebrations two weeks ago, dozens more were baptised, a sign that the community is growing.

At present, six parish centres exist in the country. For the first time two years ago, a Mongolian Catholic entered the seminary of the Diocese of Daejeon, in South Korea.

For years, state atheism had hindered the development of religion, but 20 years ago, a small Catholic community emerged thanks to Mgr Padilla and other missionaries from Southeast Asia.

It is due to their commitment that a living dynamic community has been built, one that combines energy and local ritual practices to Catholic action.

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