Filipino Bishop Wenceslao Padilla, the Prefect of Ulaanbaatar, the first and only bishop of Mongolia who started and oversaw the growth of the Catholic Church in the East Asian nation, died on Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2018. The bishop from the Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, widely known the Scheut Missionaries, succumbed to heart attack in Mongolia’s capital, Ulaanbaatar.  He was 68.

As reported by , The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) also expressed its condolences. His Grace Bishop Pablo David, CBCP Vice President said he personally witnessed how Bishop Padilla cared for his flock in Mongolia.  “I also noted his (Padilla) genuine respect for the Mongolian culture. His simplicity and humility were very edifying,” Bishop David said. The Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC) also expressed its sorrow at the death of Bishop Padilla.

His Grace Bishop Padilla was ordained a priest in 1976 and sent to Taiwan the following year on his first mission assignment.  Shortly after establishing diplomatic relations with Mongolia in 1992, the Vatican entrusted the new mission in the East Asian nation to the Scheut Missionaries.  Bishop Padilla led 2 fellow missionaries to start the mission the same year. In 2016, Bishop Padilla ordained Mongolia’s first native-born priest, a young man he baptized as a child many years ago. Today, the Church in Mongolia has 20 foreign missionaries and 50 nuns from 12 religious congregations working for about 1,300 Catholics and the country’s poor.