Seoul (AsiaNews) - The Catholic mission in Mongolia "cannot do the work alone," said Mgr Wenceslao Padilla, apostolic prefect of Ulaanbaatar, during his visit to Seoul. "Without the help of outside organisations, we cannot support our missionary work," he added. Help is needed and the Korean Church has always been there. In fact, "I cannot imagine how the [Mongolian] Church would have started without the help of the Korean Church."
The meeting with the Church in Korea was the last leg of the bishop's fund-raising trip to help for Catholic schools in Mongolia, Asia's youngest Church. Established just 20 years ago, it now has about 800 members.
"When I arrived in Mongolia 21 years ago, there was no church, no Catholic-no Mongolian Catholic; the Church is still very new," Bishop Padilla explained. "So we faced many, many challenges."
"Financial problems have always been a challenge because we have no local income," he said. "Without the help of outside organisations, we cannot support our missionary work in Mongolia".
Besides the lack of money, "there was also the challenge of cultural differences. It's been so many years and I am still struggling with the Mongolian language," said the Filipino-born prelate.
"The newness of the mission has also proven to be a challenge. The Christian religion was totally new to them [Mongolians]. There was no environment, no Christian atmosphere".
Still, despite the many challenges, the missionary work can still raise hope through the cooperation of local people, missionaries and founding organisations.
Speaking with Mgr Andrew Yeom Soo-jung, archbishop of Seoul, Bishop Padilla expressed his gratitude towards the Church of Korea for its continuous financial support and missionaries.
"I cannot imagine how the church would have started without the help of the Korean Church," he said.
For his part, Mgr Yeom noted that since the mission in Korea was made possible by help from other countries, so "it is time for us to repay the kindness" others showed us by delivering "the Lord's grace to others. We consider the Mongolian Church as our brothers, and we will look for different ways to help until the Lord's Good News is thoroughly spread in Mongolia."
(Stephany Sun, from the archdiocese's' social secretariat, contributed to the article)