Catholic Mission’s 2013 World Mission appeal – “I will build my Church” – focuses on the world’s youngest Catholic Church in Mongolia
Many people would not associate the vast expanses of Mongolia with the Catholic Church, but that is about to change. This year’s Catholic Mission World Mission Month appeal in October will focus on the world’s youngest Catholic Church which was established in Mongolia just over twenty years ago following the fall of communism.
In 1992, Bishop Wenceslao (Wens) Padilla, a Filipino from the Italian Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and two fellow missionary priests, travelled to Mongolia to build the Church ‘from scratch’ in a country known to other missionaries as the ‘hardship country’. Bishop Wens recalls that when he first arrived, the country, which was mostly comprised of nomadic herders, had no knowledge of Christianity, and was struggling with alcoholism, domestic abuse, minimal government social services and extreme poverty.
Today, throughout the vast and remote country of less than three million people, proudly stand six Catholic churches.
“Jesus said to Saint Peter, ‘Upon this rock, I will build my church.’ And I’m thinking that was also addressed to me when I came to Mongolia,” said Bishop Wens.
Bishop Wens’ incredibly inspiring journey of faith will be shared in parishes across Australia, as well as via mail and online campaigns, between September and November 2013. The extremely moving DVD entitled ‘I will build my Church’ (Matthew 16:18) can be viewed here: www.catholicmission.org.au/buildmychurchDVD
Catholic Mission—through its generous and faithful donors—has supported the Mongolian Catholic Church since day one, and helped build the very first church in Mongolia just three years after Bishop Wens arrived.
Martin Teulan, National Director of Catholic Mission, says: “What is truly exciting about the young Catholic Church in Mongolia, is that the vast majority of its Catholics have come to faith later in their lives—very few have been born into Catholic families.”
Mr Teulan further explains: “One of the biggest challenges still facing the Catholic Church in Mongolia is that there are no locally born priests or sisters. The country’s first two seminarians are currently studying in Korea, so the church relies heavily on local catechists to develop learning materials and ways to inculturate the Gospel into the everyday lives of Mongolians.”
“Catholic Mission supports the training, resources and work of the catechists and seminarians, plus many community development projects for those living in poverty. Through supporting Catholic Mission, you are supporting all of these outreach activities in Mongolia.”
“Due to the poverty in the country, the Mongolian Catholic Church receives no local income and desperately needs our prayers and financial support to continue to build Church and through it the Kingdom of God in the remote areas of their country.”
“I think Catholics all around Australia will be truly inspired by the story of Bishop Wens and the incredible impact Mongolia’s Catholic Church —the world’s youngest Catholic Church—is having in transforming the lives of so many people in Mongolia—people who have never before heard about Jesus,” says Mr Teulan.
For more information, or to arrange an interview with Mr Martin Teulan, please contact Michelle Slater, Communications Manager, on: (02) 9919 7800.
I will build my church resources can be viewed and downloaded here: www.catholicmission.org.au/wmm