Pope Francis could make an apostolic visit to Mongolia in September.
This was revealed by the pontiff in response to a question from journalists about his forthcoming trips on the return flight from South Sudan.
“On September 29 I will go to Marseilles, and there is the possibility that I will fly to Mongolia from Marseilles, but it has not yet been decided,” the pope was quoted as saying.
A report on AsiaNews said a visit to Mongolia “would be an extremely significant fact for Asia.” It noted that Mongolia “is a land where… the Church was reborn just thirty years ago.”
It said that the country is “a periphery to which the pope has shown that he is watching with great attention.”
In August last year, Pope Francis received in the Vatican a delegation from the Mongolian government led by former president Nambaryn Enkhbayar, who had extended him an official invitation to visit the country.
The pontiff immediately replied that he intends to make this journey. Contacts between the Vatican and the Ulan Bator government have continued in recent months.
If the visit to Mongolia pushed through, Pope Francis would be visiting one of the smallest Churches in the world a few days before the start of the Synod of Bishops that will open in Rome on October 4.
“The journey would therefore also have a symbolic character in the synodal journey that the pontiff wanted with the intention of listening to the voice of all the communities,” the AsiaNews report said.
Mongolia has a population of about 1,300 Catholics in a country of more than three million people.