Just a month after celebrating a Mass in Portugal for a crowd of more than 1.5 million attendees, Pope Francis yesterday turned his attention to a local church in Mongolia that has fewer than 1500 Catholics in the entire country. Source: NCR Online.
“I thank God for you, since, through you, he loves to use what is little to achieve great things,” Pope Francis told one of the world’s smallest and newest Catholic communities at the conclusion of Mongolia’s first-ever papal Mass.
“Go forward, gently and without fear, conscious of the closeness and the encouragement of the entire Church, and above all the tender gaze of the Lord, who forgets no one and looks with love upon each of his children,” the Pope heeded.
Francis used his homily to link the Mongolian Church with the universal Church.
“All of us are ‘God’s nomads,’ pilgrims in search of happiness, wayfarers thirsting for love,’” the Pope told them.
At the conclusion of the Mass, the Pope went on to offer a special, unscripted acknowledgment of the Chinese Catholics in attendance, thanking them for their attendance and asking them to be both “good Christians and good citizens” — an apparent reference to the Government’s ongoing crackdown against religious believers in the country.
Earlier in the day, Francis began his morning with an encounter with the country’s interreligious leaders, where the Pope shared the stage with representatives from a dozen other traditions.
Francis — who has consistently prioritised interfaith dialogue in his papacy, and especially during his travels — told those gathered that it was incumbent upon religious leaders to choose fraternity over fundamentalism.
“We are called to testify to the teachings we profess by the way we act; we must not contradict them and thus become a cause of scandal,” the Pope said in a speech that included quotes from Buddha, Mahatma Gandhi and Jesus Christ.
Pope Francis to Mongolia’s tiny Catholic community: all of us are ‘God’s nomads’ (By Christopher White, NCR Online)