Pope Francis listened to testimonials during his meeting with bishops, priests, missionaries, consecrated persons and pastoral workers in Ulaanbaatar’s Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul, on Saturday, 2 September.
First to speak was Missionary of Charity Sister Salvia Mary Vandanakara. She told the Pope about her Congregation’s charitable works in Mongolia, which include taking care of physically and mentally disabled children, “looking after the sick and the elderly who are abandoned by their families, sheltering the homeless, feeding the hungry and reaching out to poor families and the neglected”. She shared the challenges of furthering the mission on “very ‘rocky’” soil that “does not easily bear fruit”, but she assured the Pope that “with the help and grace of God and the protection of our heavenly Mother, we go forward without fear and hesitation”.
Next to address the Pope was Father Peter Sanjaajav who, as a boy, had attended one of the after-class programs run by the Missionaries of Charity. “This meeting”, he said, “lets us understand that God loves His people, He is by people’s side, by the side of us Mongolians”.
Echoing this gratitude for the Holy Father’s visit to “a young and small Church” was Rufina Chamingerel, a pastoral worker who converted to Catholicism when she was a student. She acknowledged the important role Mongolian pastoral workers and catechists play. “We are very lucky”, she said, because “we do not have many books of catechesis in our language, but we have many missionaries who are living books”. Chamingerel also emphasized “the effectiveness of the Synod on Synodality” in her community, which she said granted them “an even better understanding of the true nature of the Church, and a more complete view for our parishes”.