In a mission country like Mongolia - where there are about 1,300 Catholics, out of a population of more than 3 million people - remembering one's roots and joining forces with all those involved in evangelization are two fundamental attitudes to be able to continue sowing the Gospel message. That is why the Salesians present in Mongolia were pleased to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Catholic Church’s presence in Mongolia with the rest of the country's small ecclesial reality.

It was in July 1992, after the fall of the communist regime, that the Church was able to return to the country. On July 9 2022, Archbishop Alfred Xuereb, Cardinal-elect Giorgio Marengo, and all the missionaries of Mongolia gathered at the tomb of Msgr. Wenceslao Padilla, who had been the head of the Mongolia mission until his death in 2018.

The main celebration took place the following day. Early in the morning many parishioners arrived at the cathedral from many places, the most distant from more than 400 km away, bringing food and drinks for the feast day, while others started cooking in the area. By 10:00 a.m., many priests were invited to hear confessions for the many attendees as the cathedral filled with people: guests, visitors, many leaders of different religions.

"The mission started 30 years ago: it seems a long time, but for God, it will seem to be yesterday... and the mission still goes on with many challenges and changes, but all in hope, faith, with sacrifice and witness!" commented Fr. Andrew Tin Nguyen, a Salesian originally from Vietnam and active in Darkhan.

The Salesian presence in Mongolia is under the care of the Province of Vietnam and was started in 2001 when a technical school and oratory was opened in the capital, Ulaanbaatar. In 2004, a parish with oratory was started in Darkhan, in the north-central region of the country, and since 2016, the Salesians have taken over the pastoral care of the mission in Shuwuu, not far from the capital.

Republished from the Spring 2022 Salesian Bulletin