New era of faith for Mongolia

Published: 29 September 2013
By: David McGovern
Passionate: Bishop Wens Padilla on a recent visit to Brisbane speaking about some of the challenges and hopes of the Church in Mongolia.
Passionate: Bishop Wens Padilla on a recent visit to Brisbane speaking about some of the challenges and hopes of the Church in Mongolia.
HE may have a gentler approach than the famous Mongolian warlord Genghis Khan, but Bishop Wens Padilla is no less determined to transform the world around him.
As the head of the Church in Mongolia, Bishop Padilla is committed to conquering the hearts and minds of the local population, estimated at three million souls.
It may not happen at the same pace as when Genghis Khan turned the Mongolian empire into the world's largest, but his passion for sharing the Good News will still change lives.
During Mass at St Peter's Catholic Church, Rochedale recently, Bishop Padilla shared his hopes for the Church, as it continued to make a spiritual foothold in a country previously dominated by Communism.
Reflecting on his 21 years in the country, Bishop Padilla told St Peter's parishioners that he and his fellow missionary priests began the Church in a hotel room.
And it was not just the freezing Mongolian weather, where temperatures can reach minus 45 degrees, that gave them the impression that the Church was being given a frosty reception.
Learning the local language and a predominance of other major religions, including Tibetan Buddhism, Shamanism and Muslim caused significant stress and heartache.
"The poverty of the people also is a big challenge, because we don't have any local income - it's all coming from outside," Bishop Padilla said.
The second youngest of five children, Bishop Padilla still returns to visit his mother in the northern part of the Philippines each year.
He once tried to explain to her how cold it could get in Mongolia by encouraging her to place her hand in the freezer.
"It was only minus 18 degrees in the deep freeze and I had to tell her it could get even colder," he said with a smile.
Born in the Philippines in 1949 and ordained in 1976, Bishop Padilla worked for 15 years as part of the Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in Taiwan.
While completing the end of his second term as a provincial superior, the call for missionaries to Mongolia went out.
"I said, 'I am also available -let the Spirit blow where it wills'," he said.
During his first years in Mongolia, Bishop Padilla worked to understand the needs of the people, which led to the establishment of initiatives to help the less fortunate.
These included a care centre for children who were homeless, schools, medical clinics, libraries plus vocational skills and income generation training centres.
The services and programs cater especially for those who are poor or who have little in the way of food, clothing or family.
He said there had been a phenomenal growth in Mongolia from nothing.
"It's all the work of God. I know he was already there - we just had to hook up where he was working," he said.
The opportunity for the Church to become established in Mongolia came after the country was liberated from Communist China and Communist Russia, in 1989.
The now-independent nation sought to establish diplomatic relations with, among others, the Holy See.
Although Bishop Padilla was elevated from apostolic prefect to bishop in 2003, he still presides over Ulaanbaatar as an Apostolic Prefecture.
It has not yet reached the requirements to be declared a diocese.
Pope John Paul II was originally scheduled to perform Bishop Padilla's episcopal ordination, but was unable to due to his declining health.
However, Bishop Padilla was honoured to have met Blessed John Paul II for two ad limina visits.
Ironically, it was a question mark over his credentials as a bishop that prompted some of the biggest laughs during his homily at St Peter's.
He recounted a time when he was in Germany and a young girl doubted whether he was a real bishop because he did not have the official mitre.
"I had to borrow a cardboard one, that was stored in the attic of the parish where I was celebrating Mass - it has been part of a play about St Nicholas," Bishop Padilla said.
As well as celebrating Mass at St Peter's, where he proved to be a big hit with Filipino members of the congregations, the bishop also met with supporters of Catholic Mission and joined with St Stephen's Cathedral dean Fr David Pascoe, in celebrating noon Mass in the cathedral.
Endorsing the Catholic Mission appeal, for World Mission Month, Bishop Padilla said the focus on the Church's missionary work in Mongolia was "humbling".
"I really thank the people who sustain the mission," he said. "I consider them as partners of the mission, either by donations or prayers.
"They are journeyers with us."
David McGovern is Brisbane archdiocese's Catholic Mission director.
Share:

0 comments:

Post a Comment

Facebook page

Powered by Blogger.

Categories

Advertising in Mongolia An Culture Editorial of the Mongolianviews education Environmental protection Famous Mongolians Foreigners in Mongolia Inner Mongolia Ivanhoe Mines Mongolia agriculture Mongolia analysis Mongolia and Australia Mongolia and Belorussia Mongolia and Cambodia Mongolia and Canada Mongolia and central Asia Mongolia and China Mongolia and Cuba Mongolia and EU Mongolia and Germany Mongolia and Hongkong Mongolia and Hungary Mongolia and India Mongolia and Inner Mongolia Mongolia and Iran Mongolia and Italy Mongolia and Japan Mongolia and Kazakhstan Mongolia and Korea Mongolia and Kuwait Mongolia and Malaysia Mongolia and Nato Mongolia and North Korean Mongolia and Poland Mongolia and Russia Mongolia and Singapore Mongolia and South Korea Mongolia and Taiwan Mongolia and the world Mongolia and Tibet Mongolia and Turkey Mongolia and UK Mongolia and Ukraine Mongolia and UN Mongolia and USA Mongolia and Vietnam Mongolia Banking Mongolia civic society Mongolia crime Mongolia diplomacy Mongolia Economy Mongolia Education Mongolia Energy Mongolia Finance Mongolia Health Mongolia History Mongolia holiday Mongolia in international media Mongolia Industries Mongolia Joke Mongolia law Mongolia LGBT Mongolia medical Mongolia military Mongolia Mining Mongolia Mining Developments Mongolia Mortgage Mongolia natural disaster Mongolia Petroleum Mongolia public announcements Mongolia railways Mongolia Religion Mongolia society Mongolia Sports Mongolia Stamp Mongolia telecommunication Mongolia tourism Mongolia Urbanization Mongolia Wild Life Mongolian Agriculture Mongolian Archeology Mongolian Food Mongolian Gay Mongolian Government news Mongolian History Mongolian Military Mongolian Mining Development Mongolian Movie Mongolian News Mongolian Parliament Mongolian Political news Mongolian Press Mongolian Songs Mongolian Women Mongolian Youth Mongolians abroad Moninfo Opinion Oyu Tolgoi Investment Agreement Photo news Press Release Rio Tinto Tavan Tolgoi coal mine Ulaanbaatar development Weird expatriates in Mongolia

Blog Archive

Followers

Live Traffic