Missionaries in Mongolia have said locals are “shocked” by Pope Francis’s upcoming Aug. 31-Sept. 4 trip and see it as an opportune time to introduce Catholicism to the former Communist nation, where Catholics are a tiny minority and the faith is relatively unknown.
Speaking to journalists during a media roundtable, Salesian Father Jaroslav Vracovský, pastor of Shuvuu in Mongolia, said the people “are in shock” over the papal visit.
As a majority Buddhist nation, most people “don’t know who the pope is or why he is here. Most don’t know what’s going on or how important it is,” he said.
According to statistics by the Catholic nonprofit Aid to the Church in Need, Mongolia is 53 percent Tantric Buddhist, 39 percent atheist, 3 percent Muslim, 3 percent Shaman and 2 percent Christian.