Pope Francis arrives in Mongolia

Pope Francis has arrived in the Mongolian capital, Ulaanbaatar, effectively beginning his 43rd international apostolic journey that ends on September 4.

By Linda Bordoni – Ulaanbaatar

The ITA flight carrying Pope Francis to Mongolia, “the land of silence,” he told reporters on board after takeoff Thursday evening, “a very vast land, very large. It will help us understand what he means: not intellectually but with the senses,” he said, landing Shortly before 10 am local time.

The Pope was received at Chinggis Khan International Airport in Ulaanbaatar by Monsignor Fernando Duarte Barros Reis, Chargé d’Affaires of the Mongolian Apostolic Embassy, ​​and the Ambassador of Mongolia to the Holy See, Ms. Davasorin Jerlama, and then the awaiting church and government delegations. him on the runway.

The Mongolian government honor guard takes pride in their rank with their red, blue and yellow uniforms and iron helmets reminiscent of Mongolian warriors in ancient history.

Reception at the airport

Airport reception

During a short welcome ceremony at the airport, a young Mongolian woman dressed in traditional dress presented the Pope with a cup containing “arul” – boiled yogurt – made from cattle, bull and camel milk, and symbolizing the nomadic culture of the Mongolian people. It is one of the most common travel provisions.

Pope Francis graciously accepted the cup and took a big bite of the curd.

The pope is due to rest on Friday after the long trip. Its official meetings and activities begin on Saturday morning.

Reception at the airport

Reception at the airport

Church in Mongolia

The East Asian country, which the Pope chose to visit during his 43rd apostolic trip abroad, is the second-largest landlocked country in the world (after Kazakhstan). It has a small, traditionally nomadic population of less than 3.5 million; Less than 2 percent are Christians.

After 70 years of communist rule, a satellite state of the Soviet Union, Mongolia underwent a peaceful revolution in 1990 and established a multi-party democracy. And adopted a new constitution that guarantees religious freedom.

That’s when Catholic missionaries who had been exiled during the years of communism returned to the country with the mission of rebuilding the Church from scratch. Today there are no more than 28 parishes and about 1,500 baptized Catholics. But they are welcomed, integrated and appreciated by the authorities and the people as well thanks to the numerous social, healthcare and educational programs they run for the poor, the elderly, the disabled and the neglected.

The young church is headed by the youngest cardinal in the College of Cardinals, Giorgio Marengo, who was elevated to cardinal by Pope Francis during the Council in August 2022.

Archive photo of Cardinal Marengo during the Vatican Concert in 2022

Archive photo of Cardinal Marengo during the Vatican Concert in 2022

visa issue

One issue that missionaries hope will be put on the table in the wake of the pope’s visit concerns the visas they need to be able to live and work in the country.

Despite their commitment to social services, the missionaries — many of whom have worked in the country for years and learned the language — receive only short-term visas and must travel abroad every three months without knowing whether they will be allowed to return. For every (expensive) missionary visa, the government requires missionaries to hire five local people.

A nursing home run by the Missionaries of Charity on the outskirts of Ulaanbaatar

A nursing home run by the Missionaries of Charity on the outskirts of Ulaanbaatar

Mongolia’s status as a nuclear-weapon-free country

In a world torn by war and the threat of nuclear catastrophe, Mongolia proudly clings to its status as a nuclear-weapon-free state. In 2022, Mongolia marked the 30th anniversary of this status with a regional roundtable that brought together scientists and experts in Ulaanbaatar to discuss the importance, challenges and prospects of developing nuclear-weapon-free zones.

In 1992, Mongolia, as a country committed to non-proliferation of nuclear weapons in all its aspects and to achieving nuclear disarmament, declared its territory a nuclear-weapon-free zone and proposed to guarantee such status internationally. Mongolia’s initiative has been welcomed by both nuclear-weapon and non-nuclear-weapon states.

It is still working to consolidate and enhance this situation.

(Video embed: Pope arrives in Mongolia)

environmental challenge

The Pope’s visit to Mongolia comes as he drafts the second part of his encyclical. Be praised c: To take care of our common home, and the country has an important role to play in the environmental challenges of the times.

On the one hand, it must urgently address serious pollution problems caused by the mining industry exploited by foreign conglomerates, and the fact that many impoverished nomads are increasingly flocking to the densely populated city of Ulaanbaatar, which today hosts half the population of Ulaanbaatar. Residents, burning coal and plastic materials in their traditional tents during the cold winter months, leads to very poor and dangerous air quality.

On the other hand, Mongolia is called upon to protect its unique and precious ecosystems. The vast country at the crossroads of Europe and Asia occupies six different ecoregions. Mongolians cling to their ancestral land as the “second lung of the planet,” noting that while the Amazon rainforest absorbs the world’s carbon dioxide emissions, Central Asia filters the waters that irrigate the rest of Asia.

Mongolian authorities are well aware of these issues and are partnering with various international organizations to implement sustainable development programmes.



Source link

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button