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Catholic World News News Feature

First Catholic Church Opens In Mongolia May 27, 1996

ULAN BATOR, Mongolia (CWN) - The first Catholic church in primarily Buddhist Mongolia opened with a Mass on Pentecost Sunday, celebrated by the Vatican's apostolic nuncio to the Asian nation.

Bishop Bulaitis celebrated the Mass with Father Wince Padila, the church's pastor, and 150 parishioners. Father Padila and two other priests are from the Philippines and Belgium, and three monks in residence are from Africa. The Mass, and all subsequent Masses, was celebrated in English with an interpreter translating into Mongolian.

Official government figures place the number of Christians -- including Catholics, Protestants, and Orthodox -- among Mongolia's two million people at 2,500, although unofficial estimates place the number as high as 10,000.