By Serge Patrick Mondomobe CICM
The first Catholic mission in Mongolia in modern times was opened in 1992. The leader of the first three missionaries, Father Wenceslao S. Padilla CICM, from La Union, became the first ever bishop in Mongolia on August 29, ordained in the newly built cathedral in Ulaanbaatar, the Mongolian capital, that was consecrated the following day. Father Patrick, the author, is from Cameroon.
A bishop needs a cathedral but you need to have a bishop to bless a cathedral. The Church in Mongolia had neither. The Vatican decided a bishop should come first, with a cathedral the following day. Jan Pieter Cardinal Schotte CICM, the Belgian Secretary of the Roman Curia, pointed out a few days before the ordination of his Filipino confrere, Monsignor Wenceslao Padilla CICM, as the first ever bishop in Mongolia that it would be a miracle if the church were ready for that event. The cardinal didn’t seem reassured by the words of the architect that it would. The bishop-elect remained calm.