By Christina Hermoso
The Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC) has expressed sadness over the passing of Filipino Bishop Wenceslao S. Padilla, the first bishop of Mongolia, who succumbed to heart attack last September 25.
In a Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) News post, Fr. William LaRousse, FABC acting assistant secretary general, cited Padilla’s contribution to FABC. Padilla, he said, represented the other associate members of the body’s central committee for nine years, from 2009 to 2017, as he served three terms.
“We are deeply grateful for his generosity and availability as presider of various FABC plenary assemblies and programs as well as his valuable contributions during the central committee executive and offices meetings,” LaRousse said.
Bishop Padilla was found lifeless in his office in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia at around 7p.m. local time on Sept. 25. Local authorities have ruled out foul play in the sudden demise of the prelate, who would have turned 69 years old today, September 29.
His funeral will be held in Ulaanbaatar Cathedral on October 14 Padilla was ordained a priest for the Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (CICM) in 1976 and was sent to Taiwan in 1977 as his first mission assignment. From 1985 to 1990, he served as Provincial Superior of the Chinese Provinces of CICM, which also covers Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Singapore.
Two years later, together with two other confreres, he started a new mission in Mongolia that the Vatican had entrusted to CICM.
As the superior of the mission, he was made Prefect of Ulaanbaatar in 2002 and was appointed Mongolia’s first bishop in 2003
Twenty five years hence, Mongolia now has more than 60 missionaries from 12 religious congregations serving about 1,200 Catholics in six parishes.