Fewer than 20,000 people live in Arvajhėėr, a small town 400km south of the Mongolian capital, Ulaanbaatar. But in missionary terms, this tiny rural settlement holds huge significance.
This mission in Arvajhėėr began just 20 years ago. Before then, there was no trace of the Catholic Church. In fact, the Catholic Church generally has only had presence in Mongolia for around 30 years.
It was after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1992 that the country opened back up, allowing Monsignor Wenceslao Padilla, of the Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, to begin his mission in Mongolia.
Originally from the Philippines, ‘Bishop Wens’ as he became, was appointed Apostolic Prefect of Mongolia in 2002. He featured in our 2015 World Mission Sunday campaign, and supporters in England and Wales raised £540,967 to support mission projects in Mongolia and throughout the world. Our good friend, Bishop Wens, continued to live out his mission in Mongolia until his death in 2018.