Pope Francis will be visiting Mongolia from Aug. 31–Sept. 4. Mongolia is one of the world’s largest landlocked nations, sandwiched between its much larger and more powerful neighbors, China and Russia. It has one of the smallest Christian communities in the world with 1,450 Catholics.

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Sept. 4, 2023

Pope Francis revealed the existence of a joint China-Vatican commission on the appointment of bishops during an in-flight press conference on Monday — giving the clearest explanation to date as to what could be in the secret Vatican-China deal.

Speaking during his 10-hour return flight from Mongolia on Sept. 4, the pope said that there is a joint commission between the Chinese government and the Holy See on the appointment of Catholic bishops in China presided over by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin.

During the in-flight press conference, Pope Francis also outlined his vision for the upcoming synodal assembly in October, which he said should be a prayerful exercise in dialogue free from ideology, not full of “political chatter” like a television talk show.

Addressing charity workers in Mongolia on Monday, Pope Francis said doing good requires loving others and seeking the best for them without expecting anything in return.

“To truly do good, goodness of heart is essential: a commitment to seeking what is best for others. Commitment for the sake of remuneration is not true love; only love can overcome selfishness and keep this world going,” he said at the inauguration of the House of Mercy.

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Sept. 3, 2023

Catholics from across Asia traveled to Mongolia to attend the country’s first-ever papal Mass with Pope Francis on Sunday.

While papal Masses on the pope’s other international trips can draw hundreds of thousands of people, the Mass in the Mongolian capital of Ulaanbaatar only had an estimated 2,000 in attendance — presenting a rare opportunity to personally meet the pope for attendees.

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In a meeting with Mongolian Buddhists, Shamans, Shintoists, and other religious representatives, Pope Francis said Sunday that interreligious dialogue is “not antithetical to proclamation,” but helps religious traditions to understand each other.

Sept. 2, 2023

Pope Francis met Tsetsege, the woman who found a Virgin Mary statue in a garbage pile. The Holy Father blessed the statue and is now venerated in Ulaanbaatar's Cathedral of Sts. Peter and Paul.

While the Catholic population in Mongolia is one of the smallest in the world, “being little is not a problem,” Pope Francis assured the local missionaries, because God can accomplish great things with small numbers.

“God loves littleness, and through it he loves to accomplish great things, as Mary herself bears witness,” Pope Francis said in Ulaanbaatar’s Cathedral of Sts. Peter and Paul on Sept. 2.

Pope Francis called Mongolia a “symbol of religious freedom” in his first speech in Mongolia and underlined how its democratic government is in a unique position to play “an important role on behalf of world peace.”

People began to gather in Mongolia's Sukhbaatar Square for Pope Francis' official welcome ceremony.

Sept. 1, 2023

Pope Francis received an enthusiastic welcome to Mongolia after a nearly 10-hour flight on the papal plane. Here are some pictures from his first day in the country.

Two little girls proudly show off their rosaries given to them by Pope Francis.

A look at Mongolian culture at a traditional “Besreg Naadam” festival.

Pope Francis made history Friday morning when he became the first pope to travel to Mongolia, the world’s most sparsely populated sovereign country.

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Aug. 31, 2023

Pope Francis sent a telegram to China President Xi Jinping and the people of China as the papal plane entered Chinese airspace on its way to Mongolia.

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Aug. 30, 2023

As is customary before any papal trip, Pope Francis spent time in prayer before the icon of the Salus Populi Romani at the Basilica of St. Mary Major.