First Bishop Named for Mongolia
Pope John Paul II has named Fr Wenceslaw Padilla of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Congregation as the first bishop of Mongolia.
Philippine-born Padilla was appointed superior of the mission "sui iuris" (in its own right) in Mongolia on April 19 1992.
On 30 April last year, he was appointed first apostolic prefect of the capital Ulan Bator. The appointment of the new bishop is seen in Vatican circles as a positive sign for the preparation of a possible trip of John Paul II to the country.
Last month, Vatican Press Office Director Joaquín Navarro-Valls confirmed that the government of Mongolia and Bishop-designate Padilla have invited the Pope, but that the papal trip, which initially was planned for this month, has been postponed.
There are only about 200 Catholics in the country. The Catholic community was re-established following the fall of the Communist regime in the early 1990s.
An Asian republic situated between Russia and China, Mongolia has 2.6 million inhabitants, 96% of whom are Buddhists. Most of the rest are Muslims. Mongolia and the Holy See established diplomatic relations in 1997.
Catholic missionaries in Mongolia work slowly, without fanfare (Catholic News Service)
An Ursuline nun adventures to Mongolia (Diocese of Owensboro USA)
Mongolia's return to religion (BBC)
Catholic Church in Mongolia (catholic-hierarchy.org)
Mongolian Catholic Church enjoys 25% growth after Easter baptisms (24/4/03)
Life Among the Street Children of Mongolia (Catholic Voice)
20 Aug 2003