Sunday October 12th. 2014                                                                                        Charity registration No. SC 002876

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Next Sunday is Mission Sunday

After decades of struggling in a communist ruled country, with no religious freedom, it is only recently that the people of Mongolia, the world's youngest Catholic Church, have had the opportunity to hear the Good News of Jesus Christ.

For Catholic faith communities here in Scotland, it is hard to imagine a life without Jesus Christ. Faith is a precious gift given to us by God. It is his goodness, his love and his salvation that has brought us life.

This World Mission Month we are invited by Pope Francis to live out and witness our faith, to proclaim the Gospel to those who do not yet know the Good News of Jesus Christ, including the people of the young Church of Mongolia and other emerging churches across the world.

In his World Mission Day message for 2014, Pope Francis says,

"Dear brothers and sisters, on this World Mission Day my thoughts turn to all the local Churches. Let us not be robbed of the joy of evangelisation! I invite you to immerse yourself in the joy of the Gospel and nurture a love that can light up your vocation and your mission. I urge each of you to recall, as if you were making an interior pilgrimage, that "first love" with which the Lord Jesus Christ warmed your heart, not for the sake of nostalgia but in order to persevere in joy. The Lord's disciples persevere in joy when they sense His presence, do His will and share with others their faith, hope and evangelical charity".

Just over 20 years ago, Bishop Wenceslao (Wens) Padilia, a missionary priest from the congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and now the first Bishop of Mongolia, arrived in Mongolia with two fellow priests to build the Catholic Church, and the Kingdom of God. He recalls a country struggling with issues of alcoholism, domestic abuse, minimal government social services and extreme poverty due to the nomadic lifestyle of the people. It was known as the 'hardship country'. Bishop Wens's most overwhelming challenges in reaching out to the Mongolian people, was learning about their culture, their ancient spiritual beliefs and traditions, and most importantly learning their language, particularly as the Bible, or any other formation material, was not yet translated into Mongolian.

Because the Catholic Church in Mongolia is so young, there are not yet any Mongolian- born priests or sisters, so Bishop Wens is dependent on local catechists to help him share the Good News. Thanks to the catechists, the Gospel is being brought into the life, language and mentality of the Mongolian people, helping them connect with the Catholic faith in a way that is relevant and meaningful to their own culture. With the help of the catechists, the Church is being built by and for the people.

The Cathedral in Mongolia's capital of Ulaanbaatar, shaped as a traditional Mongolian Ger, a round tent dwelling, stands as a symbol of how the Catholic faith is already being rooted in a sensitive and gentle manner into the Mongolian

way of life. For Mongolians, the Ger-shaped church is a comfortable place of worship as it signifies unity, community and harmony.

Over the last 20 years, the number of Catholic faith communities has continued to grow across Mongolia. Today, Bishop Wens is still committed to reach out and offer practical and spiritual support to those in need. As he says:

"Reach out, give life. It summarises everything that I want to do as a priest, as a bishop, and as a Christian-to reach out to others. And the new Holy Father is very strong on this, 'Go out, go there and do something for the people especially the poor' ... Because that's what I wanted to do, reaching out to people, to the poor, give life."

Sadly, countless communities in Mongolia and across the world are still to hear the Good News. With no local priests or sisters, nor any local income to sustain the outreach due to the extreme and widespread poverty, the people of Mongolia urgently need our help.

Mission Sunday is  our opportunity to do something really practical to help the Catholics of Mongolia., What we give, and the prayers we say, will be greatly appreciated by Bishop Wens, his priests and his people. They suffered so much because of the evil of Russia’s communism, and now is the chance of a new springtime in their lives.

Let’s do all we can to help them!