Bishop Mumbiela: Pope's Mongolia visit shows unity despite differences

In an interview with Vatican News, Bishop José Luis Mumbiela Sierra, the President of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Central Asia, offers his thoughts on the outcomes of Pope Francis' Apostolic Journey to Mongolia.

Sep 05, 2023

By Patricia Ynestroza – Ulaanbaatar
The President of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Central Asia, Bishop José Luis Mumbiela Sierra, granted an interview to Vatican News, offering his assessment of Pope Francis' 43rd Apostolic Journey.

Reflecting on the impact of the Holy Father's Visit to the Asian nation, the Spanish-born Bishop of Santissima Trinità in Almaty, in Kazakhstan, expressed that seeing the people's faith in God has been poignant.

He examined the great faith of "simple people," observing that this means all of us. It includes "the simple people of this country and those who have come from other neighbouring countries, with many difficulties at times" and extends "to the simple people, such as the Pope, Cardinals, Bishops, and priests."

"We are all simple people. There is no superman here," he said, expressing appreciation for the Pope and some Cardinals coming "with their difficulties."

Bishop Mumbiela suggested that each event and each moment "has its own special grace," a bit like "sacraments," each with a different purpose.

"God's grace is necessary in all areas," he said. "I think it is also a sign, because the Pope has different encounters, with civil society, with religious, with Catholics and with non-Catholics, non-Christians. The Lord has graces for everyone."

Pope present in the midst of Christians
While Pope Francis had been in Mongolia especially for the sake of the small Catholic community, Bishop Mumbiela called the Journey a "grace of God" for the entire country.

He also recalled the Pope's 2022 Visit to Kazakhstan, saying the Holy Father's time with the realities in those countries represents "the beauty of our faith incarnated in the reality we are living."

"The Church does not change the Gospel," he said. "It is the same Gospel we receive."

The President of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Central Asia said that Mongolia is a young country, with a vision that recalls the past combined with a great youthful desire for the future. He praised its great hope for young people to grow up and be something important.

"The Church," he said, "is telling them that they have the capacity to be something important for this world."

While the world may be suffering, Bishop Mumbiela said that Mongolia can teach us how to cultivate peace.

"Mongolia, in its smallness, has something very beautiful for others," he concluded. "It is beautiful to know that we think differently, but that there are elements that unite us and we can create that harmony that others notice and that is so Christian."--Vatican News

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