Pope asks prayers for his trip to Mongolia

Pope Francis gives his blessing to visitors gathered in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican after praying the Angelus Aug. 27, 2023. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Pope Francis asked people to accompany him to "the heart of Asia," Mongolia, with their prayers.

The pope is scheduled to take an overnight flight to Ulaanbaatar, the country's capital, Aug. 31, arriving Sept. 1 and staying until Sept. 4, visiting a Catholic community that numbers only about 1,450.

Addressing some 10,000 people gathered in St. Peter's Square Aug. 27 for the recitation of the Angelus, Pope Francis told them it is "a much-desired visit, which will be an opportunity to embrace a church that is small in number, but vibrant in faith and great in charity."

The visit, he said, also will be an opportunity to meet "a noble, wise people, with a strong religious tradition that I will have the honor of getting to know, especially in the context of an interreligious event." Mongolia has a population of about 3.3 million and almost half of them are Buddhist.

Pope Francis said he would travel to the country as "a brother to all."

The pope also used the Angelus appointment to express his prayers for the people of Greece dealing with severe wildfires and to ask for continued prayers for peace in Ukraine

And he noted that Aug. 27 is the feast of St. Monica, mother of St. Augustine, who "with her prayers and her tears," asked the Lord for the conversion of her son.

She was "a strong woman, a good woman," the pope said. "Let us pray for the many mothers who suffer when their children are a little lost or who find themselves on difficult paths in life."


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