Pope Francis on Saturday urged the Catholic community in Mongolia not to be preoccupied with their small size but instead fix their gaze on Mary, “who in her littleness is greater than the heavens”.
“Brothers and sisters, do not be concerned about small numbers, limited success, or apparent irrelevance. That is not how God works,” the pontiff said.
He encouraged church workers to “entrust” themselves to Mary, seeking renewed zeal and ardent love to joyfully spread the Gospel.
He urged them to move forward with the knowledge that God loves them, has chosen them, and believes in them.
Pope Francis arrived in the Mongolian capital of Ulaanbaatar on Sept. 1, making history as he became the first pope to travel to the world’s most sparsely populated sovereign country.
Mongolia is home to 1,450 Catholics, which is far fewer than 1% of the country’s 3.3 million people. The Apostolic Prefecture of Ulaanbaatar, a missionary area that does not have enough Catholics to warrant a diocese, has jurisdiction over the entirety of Mongolia.
Pope Francis invited bishops, priests, missionaries, religious women and men, and lay pastoral workers gathered in Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral to “taste and see that the Lord is good”.
The pontiff emphasized the foundation of the Church’s mission, encouraging pastoral workers in Mongolia to consistently turn back to Jesus.
The 86-year-old pope urged them to “remain in contact with the face of Christ,” noting that Christ’s image is present “in the faces of those we serve”.
He said this form of service is essential in Mongolia, where people hold a deep reverence for the sacred and seek authentic testimonies.
Pope Francis underscored that Christians are not tasked with propagating political ideologies “but to bear witness by their lives to the newness of his relationship with his Father, now “our Father”, which is the source of concrete fraternity with every individual and people”.
Reflecting on the essence of the Church, Pope Francis clarified that the Church’s wealth is not measured in worldly terms but is upheld solely by faith and the influence of the Risen Lord.
He stressed that the Church’s mission is to convey “a message of mercy and truth, which is meant to promote the good of all.” – with reports from Catholic News Agency and Vatican News