12/27/2016, 14.19
MONGOLIA
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Christmas in Mongolia: And Christ pitched his tent among us (Photo)

by Giorgio Marengo*

The Consolata missionary tells how the tiny Catholic community celebrated the birth of Christ. "Underpinning the universe is this child in whom the Most High has decided to incarnate." The liturgy in the tent-chapel, children's poems, the recitation of the Nativity.

Arvaiheer (AsiaNews) - "Coming out of the tent we must be recognized not as those who have participated in one of the many festive seasons – that are very popular in Mongolia - but as people who have a new hope in their hearts and become shoots of a more humane and just society" urged Fr. Giorgio Marengo, a Consolata missionary in Mongolia.

Speaking to AsiaNews he describes how the small Catholic community of Arvaiheer (composed of 24 baptized and some sympathizers) celebrated the birth of Jesus. The novena, Christmas Mass, the poems recited by the children, a small representation of the Nativity, before returning home all "hand in hand". And "in the heart there is new hope: God has chosen this earth to dwell among us." Below his letter to our readers.

Christ is born in time, took on our human condition and in doing so has opened a glimpse of heaven into our lives. That sky immense above the long horizon of Mongolia or even contemplated "in glimpses", from inside the ger, the traditional Mongolian tent, which has no other openings if not the one at the top, round and divided into triangular sections. But today it is clear that is not the eternal or motionless circle of stars that support the universe, to which to the shape of the wheel symbolically alludes, but the sign of this Child in which the Almighty has decided to be incarnated.

And many have come into our ger-chapel on the night of the 24th and the morning of 25 to contemplate this mystery of the Almighty who has become a child. We had prepared with a novena and a moment of withdrawal the morning of the 24th, a pause to enjoy the wonder of the holy night.

The small Catholic community of Arvaiheer (24 baptized and some sympathizers) responded enthusiastically to this proposal in preparation for Christmas that we missionaries of the Consolata have proposed since our beginning. A meditation to introduce personal prayer, Eucharistic adoration and then time for confessions.

Then there was the Midnight Mass, presided over by the young Congolese missionary Fr. Dieudonè Mukadi Mukadi. From his words an invitation to the simplicity and humility of Bethlehem’s newborn. Mary offers us her Son, knowing that it is no longer hers alone, rather he is for everyone. And if we want to welcome him into our lives, we must learn precisely from her and take her as our teacher of faith. Words that resonate deep in a culture that highly honors the mother and in which women occupy a prominent role in society.

On the morning of the 25th, there were very many, with a good representation of children from the neighborhood where the mission is located, on the outskirts of the capital of the Mongolian Uvurkhangai region. God is with us and has a human face, we may know him and so become more human, because we are all children of God. This is the main reason of the joy of today, it must also radiate on the other 364 days of the year. The elevation of the Eucharistic Body, Mass in the bright light that shines from the steppes radiates on the altar of the ger-chapel, passing through the round opening of the roof.

Coming out of the ger we must not be recognized as those who have participated in one of the many festive seasons – that are very popular in Mongolia - but as people who have a new hope in the heart and become shoots of a more humane and just society: if God was made man, each person has an immense dignity!

A Christmas concert concluded celebrations, before lunch for all. With a microphone in hand even the smallest got up the courage to sing rhymes learned at school and traditional songs. The larger ones have prepared a Nativity play, where the comet was held in the hands of a helper, who also provided the roof to the stable in Bethlehem ...

Then everyone returns to their ger or house, crowds of small children holding hands and defying the cold before the snowfall. Tomorrow [26 December] the usual activities will resume, but in the heart there is new hope: God has chosen this earth to dwell among us, even in the Mongolian steppe.

In Him we trust!

* Consolata missionary 

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