Cardinal Marengo: Pope’s visit to Mongolia sows seeds of harmony

At the conclusion of Pope Francis' Apostolic Journey to Mongolia, Cardinal Giorgio Marengo shares his impressions of the Pope's 4-day visit “in the heart of Asia” and hails it as a success in building new ties of friendship.

By Linda Bordoni - Ulaanbaatar

On the final day of Pope Francis’ visit to Mongolia, the Apostolic Prefect of Ulaanbaatar, Cardinal Giorgio Marengo, highlighted the great sense of joy that permeated the Pope’s visit to this country “in the heart of Asia.”

Speaking with Vatican News' Linda Bordoni in the Bishop’s residence just a few hours after the Pope’s departure, Cardinal Marengo said he felt the Apostolic Journey “contributed dramatically” to building up “new ties of friendship” between the person of the Pope and the people of Mongolia – especially with the small Catholic community, but also with the whole of the nation.  

Q: Cardinal Marengo, this is the last day of Pope Francis's visit to Mongolia. Would you like to give us a brief wrap-up of the trip, your feelings, your thoughts, and the legacy you think it's leaving?

Cardinal Marengo: Well, it has been a great grace that we all received in these past days. One feeling that remains, though we still have to meditate and to go back to what we have experienced so intensely in these past few days, is a sense of joy, the joy of the gospel, the Evangelii gaudium that we shared, we felt, in the words of the Holy Father, in his gestures of closeness to our small flock and to the whole nation of Mongolia.

And I can say that that the perception that we have is that his presence here has contributed dramatically to a new tie of friendship between his person, the successor of Saint Peter, and this great nation, with, of course, the Catholic community in the frontline, but with the rest of the country, the rest of the people.

Q: It seemed that the people were very happy to have him, across the board…

Yes. Yes, yes. It was something also that was growing hour by hour. Seeing the people waving their hands as the Holy Father was passing through the roads of Ulaanbaatar gave me the impression that, really, he brought a message of peace, joy, and friendship, as he repeatedly quoted in his speeches in these past days.

Q. It is a country of inter-religious dialogue and of peace and so his message was particularly well received, I think. What seeds do you hope it may have sown?

Well, I think his presence, the presence of the Holy Father has surely offered the seed of harmony, as he said, a kind of reminder to all of us representatives of different religious traditions, of the important value of collaborating, of building up a society in which spiritual values are highly considered, and the rush to a fast research of wealth would be balanced by the importance of human, moral, and spiritual values.

I think that is also something that has grown along the days and hours, and I think it is a seed [that is] important to be kept and we hope that it will bear much fruit.

Q: Finally, would you like to share one of your favorite moments?

Well, it was for me, very emotional along the days when I saw him on Sukhbaatar Square shaking hands with the president.

Thinking of this friendship that lasts for centuries, has lasted for centuries, but only now could be visible.

It gave me a sense of gratitude for this great event of the Holy Father coming to visit this country. And then there are many other moments of joy and happiness that I said.

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05 September 2023, 11:00