by Gordon Nary
Gordon: Where did you attend Seminary and what was the most challenging course that you took and why was it challenging?
Father Patrick: I started to get in touch with our congregation after my high school in 2009.Though our parish was run by CICM missionaries, I had i other choices, namely the Missionary of Jesus (The Jesuits) as my elder brother would have preferred. When I was first year university in philosophy, I applied to the vocation animation team. They responded positively by inviting me to the Christmas and Easter searching sessions for candidates. Few months later, our former parish priest informed me that I was accepted but I had to finish my bachelor degree in philosophy before entering the prenoviciate (minor seminary) in Tsinga (Yaoundé-Cameroon) in 2012.
Since I was most in favor with positive thinking, I had to immersed myself into some spiritual courses like spirituality , Theodicy and cosmology in a Christian perspective. Those requested for me a certain “paradigm shift “. It was the same few years later while taking up theological studies in the Philippines.
Besides, I had to deal with home leave at the age of 22 while traveling to the Democratic Republic of Congo ( DRC) for our Novitiate and one year later going to the Philippines. I missed my family so much especially my mum and at the same I had to face cultural clashes and language barriers.
Gordon: What are you responsibilities at Antoon Mostaert Center for Mongolian Studies?
Father Patrick: At the end of my theological studies in the Philippines, I was sent to Mongolia for mission. Since I couldn’t enter as a religious missionary as such based on the legal status of our institute there, I took up a training at the American Tesol center to become a certified English teacher.With a bachelor degree in philosophy and my endeavors for research, I joined the team of Antoon Mostaert Center whose main concern is Mongolian studies ( language, culture,history etc). I cooperated with the two researchers of the center and sometimes translated documents and had English courses.
Gordon: Approximately what percentage of Mongolia is Catholic?
Father Patrick: I’m not sure of the current statistics but I presume it’s still less than 1%.
Gordon: What impact has the Covid-19 pandemic had in Mongolia?
Father Patrick: Like everywhere in the world , Mongolia has to deal with the new normal of this pandemic since it’s situated between to giants Russia and China which had surges of cases before. Just after the outbreak of the Pandemic, the country was lockdown and the government set forth strict measures along with contact tracings strategies. School, theaters, restaurants etc were close and the normal byproducts were economic deficits and strikes. Actually the country is still looking forward on how to ease down measures despite the surge of cases with less that 10 dead. Even Antoon Mostaert Center has to cancel some of its schedules and explore online channels in carrying out some works.
Gordon: Who is your favorites author and their books?
Father Patrick: As a priest, I like the Bible so much since my final paper in theology was on biblical exegesis. I enjoy explaining or teaching it to people and it’s the primary source in nourishing and strengthening my faith to carry out my duties properly. I like Pope Benedict XVI books on Jesus of Nazareth, Karl Rahner on the Church.
Gordon: Who is your favorite religious composer and his composition?
Father Patrick: Aside from being a priest, I’m a musician .Prior to joining religious life, I sang in many choirs. I compose songs in French, English, Ewondo (one of the liturgical languages in Yaoundé-Cameroon), and Mongolian. My favorite religious composer is Ricky Manalo. The God of All Grace). I like also so much Don Moen.
Gordon: Thank you for am exceptional interview.