I thank the Lord who has called me to serve him through priesthood. I am also grateful to all the people who helped me to answer this call. I hope there will soon be other vocations to priesthood and consecrated life among the youth in Mongolia.
These are the words of Fr Joseph Enkh during the celebration of his ordination on Sunday 28 August in Ulaanbaatar.
‘It was an unforgettable day in the history of the Catholic Church in Mongolia,’ reports Fr Prosper Mbumba, a Congolese missionary who works in the Asian country. He describes the atmosphere of great joy and intense prayer lived by the local community.
‘The ordination of Fr Joseph Enkh makes us more aware of the grace of God that works in our young church in Mongolia,’ he said.
The Catholic community in England and Wales has supported the Fr Joseph’s formation and ordination, financially and spiritually, through Missio.
Bishop Wenceslao Padilla is the Apostolic Prefect in the country. He followed the spiritual growth of Joseph and the entire Church in Mongolia with perseverance, reborn 24 years ago. He told Fides:
‘Having a young Mongolian ordained to priesthood for the local Church is like giving birth: she is a young mother who gives birth to her first child. Let us pray and trust that Fr Joseph Enkh is faithful to his vocation, takes up his cross daily, and follows Christ always, in every circumstance of his life.’
In his homily, Bishop Padilla focused on the Gospel Fr Enkh chose for his ordination: ‘Deny yourself, take up your cross daily and follow me’ (Lk 9, 23).
He recalled that ‘the Lord has made possible what seemed to be impossible’. And he invited the assembly ‘to continue to trust in God’.
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A historic event
Over 40 priests concelebrated and more than 1,500 people participated in the historic event, including officials, civilian and diplomatic authorities.
Abbot Dambajav, of the Buddhist monastery of Dashi Lin Choi was also present. He addressed the young priest with words of encouragement. ‘Buddhists have good relations with Catholics,’ he said. ‘We learn from them, and they learn from us. We are happy that one of us Mongolians became a priest in this church.’
The Buddhist leader then placed a blue silk stole around the newly ordained priest’s neck. In the Buddhist tradition, this symbolises the sky and, therefore, signifies purity, good will, good omen and compassion. The gesture was applauded by all the participants.
How you can help
You can help with the training of future priests and religious sisters for the Church around the world which is too young or poor to support itself by supporting Missio’s Society of St Peter the Apostle through your prayer and donations to the SPA. Click here for more information, and how you could sponsor a seminarian.