Concluding the Mass, the newly ordained priest profoundly thanked his family and his mentors at the seminary, especially Bishop You. He also praised the important role played by Bishop Padilla through his support of his vocation.
Fr. Baatar urged the faithful to pray for his priestly ministry so that he could faithfully fulfill his ordination motto, chosen from the gospel of Luke: "Deny yourself, take up your cross daily, and follow me."
"I thank the Lord who has called me to serve Him through the priesthood. I am also grateful to all the people who have helped me respond to this calling," Fr. Baatar expressed.
Bishop You reminded the new priest that "the best way of announcing the good news is a life of witnessing."
Commenting on the vast missionary work that lies ahead in Mongolia, the South Korean bishop said, "Fr. Joseph, being a Mongolian citizen, has to live as a missionary in his own country."
Ruffina also recounted that the parishioners of Saint Mary's parish gave Fr. Baatar a Bible which was handwritten by the parishioners themselves.
A young family ministry volunteer, Clara Gantesetseg, told CNA that "the ordination gift of Fr. Joseph Enkh is sign of hope to our people in Mongolia, and a special a gift during this Year of Mercy."
Clara noted that "Fr. Joseph's indigenous roots, his cultural and life experiences of his own and the people, will help to transcend the teachings of the Church to the local culture for better understanding, and also will foster interreligious dialogue."
Among the guests at the Mass was the Abbot Dambajav of Dashi Choi Lin Buddhist Monastery. He praised the efforts of the Catholic Church and encouraged Fr. Baatar to take up the responsibility of helping the Mongolian people. He also gave the new priest a blue khadag, a ceremonial scarf, as a mark of friendship.
Ruffina pointed out that the Buddhist monk's participation and his kind words of encouragement will further forge bonds of friendship and interreligious dialogue between the communities for peaceful co-existence.
A little over half Mongolia's population is Buddhist, and following the decades of communist rule, 39 percent of Mongolia's population is non-religious. Islam, shamanism, and Christianity have mere footholds among the people.
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The Prefecture Apostolic of Ulaanbaatar serves all of the estimated 1,200 Catholics in the country, which has a population of 3 million. In 2014, the local Church had three diocesan priests, who were aided by 14 religious.