Pope Francis to Visit Mongolia’s Tiny Catholic Flock

Pope Francis to visit the Asian nation of Mongolia during his next international trip, scheduled to take place from August 31 to September 4.

When Pope Francis lands in the capital city of Ulaanbaatar, he will become the first pope in the history of the Catholic Church to visit Mongolia, but the trip could have geopolitical implications beyond the country’s small population of just 1,450 Catholics.

In his greetings following the recitation of the Angelus prayer on Sunday, Pope Francis said the motto of the journey, “Hoping Together,” aims to underscore the double meaning of the Holy Father’s Apostolic Journey to Mongolia: that of a pastoral visit and of a state visit.

Speaking on why he has traveled 5,143 miles to visit a small church despite his need for a wheelchair, the 86-year old Pope, described the visit as a “much-desired visit” and an opportunity “to embrace a Church small in numbers but vibrant in faith and great in charity.”

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Pope Francis arrives in the Clementine Hall of the Apostolic Palace at the Vatican April 14, 2023, for an audience with executives and staff of ITA Airways, the Italian government-owned airline that flies the pope on his trips abroad. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)

Visiting places where Catholics are a minority is part of Pope Francis’ policy of drawing attention to people and problems in what he has called the peripheries of society and the world.

The Holy Father recalled Mongolia’s rich “religious tradition,” which he “will have the honor of getting to know, especially in the context of an interreligious event. “Pope Francis expressed his happiness “to be among” the Mongolian people “as a brother for all.” The Pope concluded by thanking the civil authorities of Mongolia for the invitation and those “who with great commitment, are preparing for my arrival.” He asks everyone to accompany this visit with prayers.