The Xavierian nun talks about her missionary experience in Thailand. She heads a facility for seriously disabled children and their mothers set up in 2008 by Sister Maria Angela Bertelli. In Thailand, Sister Eudoxie notes, “a disability is considered a punishment caused by the parents’ faults or things the children did in previous lives.”
Born into a family of Muslim origin, the nun was baptised as an adult. Now she is a member of the Missionaries of Mary in Thailand. During her childhood, she attended the Xaverian mission in Kasongo, where she discovered faith and mission. For her, Jesus is already “present in the history of every people.”
The deputy abbot of the Wat Phra Chetuphon royal temple gives his thoughts. The Holy Father is simple, kind and serene, and the world “should take him as an example”. For him, “Christianity and Buddhism are similar to the wings of a bird: they work together and allow the animal to fly.”
At least 3 thousand faithful came from Vietnam; another 7,000 are migrants in Thailand. Happiness: is seeing the Pope "at least once in a lifetime". In Thailand, with 1% of Christians, there were two papal visits; in Vietnam, with 10% of Catholics, no visits. "The Vietnamese Church has proposed to invite the pontiff many times, but the official invitation must come from the government."
About 7,000 students today flocked to the Cathedral of the Assumption from Catholic schools across the country. A young volunteer discovered that “Our small community is actually bigger than we thought.”
Throngs of young people celebrated the last public engagement of Pope Francis in Thailand. The pontiff urged them “to set off and look to the future to meet with the most beautiful thing he wants to give us: Christ’s definitive coming into our lives and our world.”
A young woman bears witness before Francis during the meeting with priests and religious. “I was on my way when, in Chiang Mai, I met Fr. Raffaele Manenti, a PIME missionary. So I decided to go with him to work at Angels’ Home, a house for handicapped children”.
In the meeting with priests, religious and bishops, Francis underlined the significance of mission which “before being a project or activity to be implemented, requires a vision and 'flair' to educate".
Pope Francis met approximately 1,000 priests, nuns, religious, consecrated persons, seminarians and catechists in the parish of St. Peter. 18,000 people came specifically for the occassion. There were also tribal Akha, as well as Vietnamese, Cambodians, Singaporeans, Indonesians and Filipinos. 10 trucks left, which will distribute 600 thousand bottles of water blessed by the pontiff for the country.
In his first Mass in Bangkok, Pope Francis talked about the "missionary disciple" who "goes out" to offer everyone the gift of the Word of Jesus and about the "children, girls and women exposed to prostitution and trafficking”. The missionary disciple “is not a mercenary of the faith or a producer of proselytes, but rather a humble mendicant who feels the absence of brothers, sisters and mothers with whom to share the irrevocable gift of reconciliation that Jesus grants to all.”
After Bangkok, the pontiff will visit the most significant places in Japan. The Archbishop of Vasai looks at the similarities between the Indian and Japanese Churches. Both countries were evangelised by Saint Francis Xavier. In Thailand and Japan the number of Catholics is insignificant, but the Church is present through its service.
The health facility par excellence and the flagship of the Thai Church's commitment in the medical field. The meeting was attended by 10 thousand Catholics from all over the country but also from the Philippines, Cambodia and Vietnam.
"The international community acts with responsibility and foresight", to "solve the problems that lead to this tragic exodus". Freedom, dialogue, fraternity and the protection of children are the other themes touched by Pope Francis today in Thailand dedicated to meetings with the country's political, civil and religious authorities and also to healthcare workers and patients cared for in a Catholic hospital.
Hundreds of faithful awaited the pontiff outside the airport and at the nunciature. The Buddhist population shows timid signs of interest in the apostolic visit. A Young Catholic: “For most, Catholicism is synonymous with education and schools. But the Pope will also bring to light the great social commitment of the community". From our correspondent on the ground.
After arriving, Francis travelled by car to the nunciature to have lunch, rest and in the afternoon, celebrate Mass in private. The first appointments and the first speeches, 8 only in the Thai stage, will begin tomorrow, November 21st.
The pontiff will arrive tomorrow in the capital for a three-day apostolic visit. Catholics represent 0.46 per cent of the country's population. The event is generating a lot of curiosity about their faith. For pastor in St Louis parish, the Holy Father is “bringing a message of peace and love.” Young people “are overjoyed.”
“I hope,” said the Pope in Spanish, “that my visit will help to highlight the importance of interreligious dialogue, mutual understanding and fraternal cooperation, especially in the service of the poor, those most in need, and in the service of peace.”
The PIME superior delegate in Thailand speaks about Pope Francis’s apostolic visit. Nearly 70,000 people are expected at the Mass in the Supachalasai National Stadium in Bangkok. For Fr Arioldi, the pontiff’s presence will shake up the Catholic community. For him, “An exclusively devotional faith won’t withstand the impact of secularism, consumerism and globalisation.”
TV stars lent their voices to the official song of the apostolic visit. Tickets for Masses have been snapped up. The Sisters of the Sacred Heart are preparing the sacred vestments at a Catholic-owned garment factory with 12 seamstresses working ten hours a day to finish the job. A PIME missionary talks about the preparations.
The pontiff will be in Thailand from 20 to 23 November. For the apostolic nuncio, “He is coming to spur us on to build a society capable of true human values.” The local population is looking forward to his message of peace, mercy and harmony. The Pope is seen as a spiritual leader for all humanity, no more only as the head of the Catholic Church.
35 years after John Paul II's visit, Francis will be the second pontiff to visit the country. On May 16, 2018, the meeting at the Vatican with a delegation of 50 Buddhist monks laid the foundation for the journey. PIME Priest Fr. Daniele Mazza: "The pontiff comes as a father who visits his children".
The program of the visit is published. After John Paul II, Francis will be the second pontiff to visit the two countries.
After John Paul II, the second pontiff to visit the two Asian countries. The program of the first stage yet to be defined. The Pope will visit Tokyo, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, where he will pray for the victims of the atomic bomb. Fr. Marco Ribolini, PIME missionary, reflects on the meaning of the visit for Thai Catholics.