Watch as Pope Francis departs Rome on four-day trip to Mongolia

Watch as Pope Francis departs Rome’s Fiumicino airport for his visit to Mongolia on Thursday 31 August.

His four-day trip will be a historic meeting of East and West, the first-ever visit by a Roman pontiff to the country, which is one of the tiniest, newest Catholic communities in the world.

Officially, there are only 1,450 Catholics in Mongolia and the Catholic Church has only had a sanctioned presence since 1992, after the nation shrugged off its Soviet-allied communist government and enshrined religious freedom in its constitution.

Francis last year upped the Mongolian church’s standing when he made a cardinal out of its leader, the Italian missionary Giorgio Marengo.

“It is amazing [for the Pope] to come to a country that is not known to the world for its Catholicism,” said Uugantsetseg Tungalag, a Catholic who works with Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity in a nursing home in the capital Ulaanbaatar.

“When the pope visits us, other countries will learn that it has been 30 years since Catholicism came to Mongolia.”