» 04/06/2013, 00.00
Easter in Ulaanbaatar, dozens of baptisms for a "vibrant and dynamic" community
A capital without traffic and blanketed in snow, for a religious festival still not recognized by the government. The faithful packed the churches and welcomed the new members into the community. The rites, including the lighting of the fire, have attracted the curiosity of passers-by. The Mongolian Church is "warm, alive and dynamic."
(AsiaNews / EDA) - With the baptism of dozens of catechumens, who have made
their entry into the Church on the eve of Sunday celebrations, the small
Catholic community of Mongolia celebrated Easter. This
year's anniversary coincided with "ecological Sunday" that bans cars and
motorcycles to combat pollution. Events
were organized to promote the use of bicycles, which resulted in many cyclists
invading the streets of the capital Ulaanbaatar - carpeted by "an exceptional"
snowfall, as confirmed by priests present for years in the territory. For
the faithful, it was a "confirmation" of the "continuous
growth" of the Catholic faith in a nation where state atheism dominated
for decades, and which has witnessed a "religious revival" in the last 20
is not considered a national holiday in Mongolia and there are no days off. The
celebrations were held in a "discreet way", say the Catholic Eglise d'Asie (EDA), but with great participation
and places of worship were packed. Each
parish lit the traditional fire in the Church atrium, attracting the gaze of
curious passers-by with the rites and traditions of the small Christian
in 2012, when about fifty faithful became Catholics, this year dozens of
baptisms were celebrated a testimony to the quality of the work done by priests
and the apostolic prefect of the capital, Msgr. Wenceslao Padilla. "The
emergence of new parishes - a faithful notes - is the result of the prudent and
cautious policy" carried out by the prelate, as government permits for the
opening of a place of worship "are increasingly difficult to obtain."
has given rise to a native Christian reality "warm, alive and
dynamic" capable also, as was the case for Palm Sunday, of staging a real
animated representation of the Passion of Christ.
to the latest estimates, tChristians - of all faiths - in Mongolia represent
slightly more than 2% of the population; an overwhelming majority are Buddhists,
or follow shamanistic beliefs of the local tradition. There
is also high proportion of atheists, almost 40% of the total. Catholics
are a few hundred (835 in 2012, although the number of baptized persons has now
passed 900), but over time centers for orphans, the destitute and elderly,
medical clinics have sprouted and grown - in a country where the health
infrastructure is scarce - as well as several schools and technical institutes.
1992, with the arrival of the first foreign missionaries (especially
Filipinos), including the future Msgr. Wenceslao
Padilla of the Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, there were no
only a few months ago there were still only four compared to the
now six in the capital today, confirming the path of development. In
letter published for the 20 years of the Church in Mongolia, the Apostolic Prefect
recalled that today there are 81 missionaries in the country of 22 different
nationalities, while the first
two indigenous seminarians are preparing for the priesthood in Daejeon,
South Korea (SC)
Mongolia's "poor" Catholic community undergoing silent growth
About 30 teenaged and adult catechumens were baptised on Easter eve. The community now has about a thousand members, but faces "intrusive and restrictive" government red tape, limiting their activities. For Mgr Padilla, the Church must be "poor for the poor", following Pope Francis' example.
Bishop of Niigata: At Easter, less timid in building the Church of the Rising Sun
Msgr. Tarcisio Isao Kikuchi, sends AsiaNews a reflection on the Resurrection of Christ: "Like the disciples, Japanese Catholics must also become dynamic followers of the Lord. Japanese society has to understand that the real victory comes from God, not money or nationalism".
Ulaanbaatar, Mongolian Catholics celebrate the inauguration of a sixth parish
For Msgr. Wenceslao Padilla it is a sign of the vitality of the local Church. Santa Sofia is in a poor neighborhood of the capital. It will be led by a Korean Fidei Donum priest, on mission to Mongolia for 16 years. Ulaanbaatar faithful: "positive" result of the "diplomatic and cautious policies of the Apostolic Prefect."
Mongolia, where Catholic mission "demands empathy and patience"
In the country since 2003, Fr. Giorgio Marengo is a Consolata missionary in the steppes of Asia. He tells AsiaNews about the most important challenges for the local Church and the hopes of a community founded just over 20 years ago, that is growing "with prudence and confidence." Social work and engagement with the people helping to insert the Gospel within a shamanic and Buddhist tradition. The desire to "build a bridge" to a world quite different from the West.
First parish assembly held on missions
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October is a month devoted to awakening the call to mission among Christians. In the world there is indifference or enmity towards God and the Church. Religions are considered the source of all wars. Christianity is the encounter with a Person who changes the life of the believer and places him at the service of the wounds of the world, torn by frustrations and fratricidal wars. The example of the Patriarch of Baghdad and of the President of South Korea.
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