08/29/2016, 11.35
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Fr. Joseph Enkh-Baatar's first Mass: A gift from God (PHOTOS)

Ordained yesterday, the first Mongolian priest celebrated his first Mass today. His mother;s joy and the pride of his faithful. Buddhist leader: "We have excellent relations with Catholics, we learn from them as they learn from us." Over 1,500 faithful and guests celebrate the event.

Ulaanbaatar (AsiaNews) - The first mass celebrated by a newly ordained priest "is always a gift of God. But this mass, this Eucharistic Liturgy is for me an even greater gift. Now I hope to be able to walk on the path indicated by the Lord and do His will”, said Father Joseph Enkh-Baatar, the first priest of Mongolia's small Catholic community, this morning.

The young man was ordained yesterday in the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul in Ulaanbaatar, the same church where this morning he celebrated his first Eucharist. The ordination was presided by the Apostolic Prefect Msgr. Wenceslao Padilla, who today celebrates the 12th anniversary of his episcopal ordination; by Msgr. Lazzaro You Heung-sik, bishop of the South Korean diocese of Daejeon where Enkh studied; and the nuncio to Korea and Mongolia, Msgr. Oswaldo Padilla.

More than 40 priests concelebrated, from Consolata Fathers missionaries present for years in the Asian country to Fr. Modesto, who came from the Archdiocese of Naples on behalf of Cardinal Sepe. There were 1,500 faithful and guests, including representatives of the government and city authorities as well as a sizeable diplomatic representation. Those present included Enkh's mother, who embraced her son, calling it "an honor".

Of note, the attendance of Abbot Dambajav, who leads the Buddhist monastery of Dashi Lin Choi. The Mongolian people in fact divided between traditional Tibetan Buddhism and shamanism, and aspects of the two religions often meet. Relations are not as close with the Christian community, thus Enkh's ordination is also a bridge in this sense.

The abbot attended the ordination Mass and gave the young priest a khadag [traditional blue Buddhist scarf]: the color represents the sky and purity, but it is also a symbol of good omen and call for compassion. Those present applauded when the religious put the scarf on Enkh's shoulders. The abbot's secretary, explained: "We have good relations with Catholics, we learn from them as they learn from us. We are happy that one of us, a Mongolian, has become a priest of this church".

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