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Pope Francis will visit Mongolia from August 31-September 4 (Vatican Media)

Pope Francis will travel to Mongolia this year, one of the most far-flung places he has ever visited and with one of the smallest Catholic populations. Source: SBS News.

The country has only about 1300 Catholics but is strategically significant for the Church because of its proximity to China.

The Vatican announced the August 31-September 4 trip in a brief statement, saying it was being made at the invitation of the country’s President and Catholic leaders. 

Details would be announced in the next few weeks, Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said.

Last August, Francis named Archbishop Giorgio Marengo, an Italian, the first cardinal to be based in Mongolia, where he is the Catholic Church’s administrator.

Archbishop Marengo was in Rome last month and met the Pope to discuss the trip.

Francis first spoke of the possibility of going to Mongolia in a conversation with reporters aboard the papal plane returning from a trip to Africa in February.

According to Fides, the news agency of the Vatican’s missionary activities, there are about 1300 baptised Catholics in Mongolia among a population of about 3.3 million people.

Although the number of Catholics in Mongolia is smaller than most individual parish churches in many countries, the country is significant for the Vatican. 

It has a long border and close ties with China, where the Vatican is trying to improve the situation of Catholics in the communist country.

Visiting places where Catholics are a minority is also part of Francis’ policy of drawing attention to people and problems in what he has called the peripheries of society and of the world.


Why the Pope is visiting this country of just 1,300 Catholics (SBS News)


Pope Francis to make Apostolic Journey to Mongolia (Vatican News)