The Lord's Face In The Land Of Genghis Khan

By: Agenzia Fides

‘The proclamation of Christ returned to Mongolia 15 years ago, but the Lord has always been with the Mongol people who today receive the Gospel with faith and hope’ – from an interview by Agenzia Fides with Bishop Wenceslao S. Padilla CICM, Apostolic Prefect of Ulaanbaatar. Bishop Padilla is both the first bishop ever in Mongolia and the first Filipino to be appointed bishop of a jurisdiction overseas. This interview was published on 9 April and is reproduced with permission. Fides, , is a service of the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith and is based in the Vatican.

ULAANBAATAR (Agenzia Fides) - In just 15 years of active presence, the small Catholic community of Mongolia has made great progress. With the proclamation of the Gospel and the love of God, made manifest mainly through the testimony and help of their brethren, the number of conversions and baptisms among youth and adults continues to grow. In 2008, there were about 100 baptisms, and with the baptisms scheduled for May, the total number of faithful will reach 547. This is a positive result for the first missionaries who, 15 years ago, began their missionary adventure to re-evangelize Mongolia. Among them was Father Wenceslao Padilla CICM, a Filipino missionary who lead the missio sui iuris (in 1992) and was later appointed Apostolic Vicar of the Holy See (in 2002), and finally, Apostolic Prefect of Ulaanbaatar (in 2003). Agenzia Fides has been able to ask him a few questions on the situation and perspectives of the Church in Mongolia.

Three Historic Days For The Church In Mongolia

By Serge Patrick Mondomobe CICM

The first Catholic mission in Mongolia in modern times was opened in 1992. The leader of the first three missionaries, Father Wenceslao S. Padilla CICM, from La Union, became the first ever bishop in Mongolia on August 29, ordained in the newly built cathedral in Ulaanbaatar, the Mongolian capital, that was consecrated the following day. Father Patrick, the author, is from Cameroon.

A bishop needs a cathedral but you need to have a bishop to bless a cathedral. The Church in Mongolia had neither. The Vatican decided a bishop should come first, with a cathedral the following day. Jan Pieter Cardinal Schotte CICM, the Belgian Secretary of the Roman Curia, pointed out a few days before the ordination of his Filipino confrere, Monsignor Wenceslao Padilla CICM, as the first ever bishop in Mongolia that it would be a miracle if the church were ready for that event. The cardinal didn’t seem reassured by the words of the architect that it would. The bishop-elect remained calm.

Letting God's Light Shine Through

By Sister Nellie Zarraga ICM

Sr Nellie, 2nd from the left, and Bishop Wens Padilla, far right, with friends outside a ger

Sr Nellie, an ICM Sister in Mongolia, attended the ordination of Fr Wens Padilla as the first bishop in Mongolia which took place in the newly constructed Cathedral of Sts Peter and Paul in the western part of Uaanbaatar. The beauty of the stained glass windows caught here attention and reminded her of the work of the missionaries in the country.

Their New Home

By Fr. Gilbert Sales cicm

Father Gilbert Sales, cicm is the District Superior of CICM in Mongolia and also the Director of the Verbist Caring Center. The center is a Catholic home for street children in Mongolia’s capital, Ulaanbaatar. Father Sales is pictured here with the youngest resident of the center and two other children, who like the 70-plus other residents, benefit from this ministry which is partly funded by donations from benefactors of Missionhurst.

Land Of The Two-Humped Camel

By Fr. Wens Padilla, CICM

When the Wall came down in Europe in 1989 many countries opened up for the first time in years. Mongolia was one of these. The new Mongolian government asked the Vatican to send missionaries. The Vatican asked CICM and CICM asked Fr. Wens Padilla, them working in Taiwan. Along with a team Fr. Wens, a Filipino, was the first catholic missionary to return to Mongolia since 1920's.  It is a tiny Catholic community centered on helping street children. Here Fr. Padilla takes a look at the exciting and exotic countryside of outer Mongolia, home to the two hump camel ad the famous blue sheep!

Teacher Mutombo

By Fr. Wens Padilla CICM

Mongolia Flag

Father Wens Padilla, CICM, a native of Tubao, La Union, Philippines, joined the CICM in 1972 and was ordained in 1976. The next year he was sent to the missions of Taiwan, where he served in parish apostolate. He was Provincial Superior of the CICM Chinese Province from 1986 to 1992, when he was appointed, together with two other confreres, to become the first Catholic missionaries to go back to outer Mongolia. Today there are six CICM men in Ulaanbataar, the capital of Mongolia. One young Zairian intern confrere died in April. Father Wens, the Superior of the District of Mongolia, tells us about Teacher Mutombo.

Inside Outer Mongolia

By Fr. Wens Padilla, CICM

In a unique event in modern history the Vatican was asked by newly-freed Mongolia to send missionaries. It is a credit to the CICM’s that they were chosen to go and a credit to all Filipino missionaries. Fr. Wens Padilla was chosen to head the team of three. Wens has been in Taiwan and featured in Misyon before.

A Dream Becomes a Reality
MONGOLIA was not a “dream mission” for me when I entered the Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (CICM) knowing that what was related to Mainland China and the Autonomous Region of Inner Mongolia, where our first CICM missionaries did mission work, has long been wiped. It was wiped out as a CICM mission field and priority after our last European confreres came into my dream- screen, catching me unawares, on April 1992 when I got my nomination that I was chosen as one of the members of the first CICM team to come to Mongolia. I was then in the Philippines still grieving at the death of my father at whose funerals I officiated on January 10, 1992, our team of three missionaries landed at the Ulaan Baatar International Airport.