Thai Buddhists reaffirm friendship and fraternity with Catholic Church
A Buddhist Delegation from Thailand meets with representatives of the Dicastery for Interreligious Dialogue in the Vatican. Having been due to meet with the Pope who is recovering from surgery but will be discharged tomorrow, the delegation leave him a letter of prayers and well-wishes.
One minute of silent reflection “to really bring everyone here and now” opened the meeting between a delegation of Buddhist monks, and their entourage, and representatives of the Dicastery for Interreligious Dialogue at the Augustinianum on Thursday 15 June.
The delegation had been due to meet with Pope Francis during their two-day visit to the Vatican, but due to the Holy Father’s ongoing recovery in Hospital, they wrote him a letter, signed by the Venerable Somdet Phra Mahathirachan, Abbot of the Royal Temple of Wat Phra Cetuphon, instead.
Consisting of around eighty people, the delegation from Thailand was made up of members of the Supreme Sangha Council of Thailand, the Sangha Assembly of Wat Phra Chetuphon, the Regulatory Office for Overseas Dhammaduta Bhikkhus and the Staff of the King Prajadhipok’s Institute, convened in the main hall of the Augustininum institute. There they were joined by members of the Dicastery for Interreligious Dialogue, including Cardinal Miguel Angel Ayuso, Prefect of the Dicastery, and Msgr. Indunil Kodithuwakku.
The letter to Pope Francis
The letter, written in Italian on behalf of all the members of the delegation, as well as the Archbishop of Chiang Mai, Francesco Saverio Vira Arpondratana and the Embassies of Thailand to Italy and to the Holy See, opens with assurance to the Holy Father that they hold him deeply in their prayers as he continues to recover from abdominal surgery. The Vatican announced today the Pope will be discharged from the hospital tomorrow morning.
The delegation members recount their activities in the Vatican, including having prayed for peace and having payed a visit to the tomb of the late Pope Benedict XVI.
The monks then lead everyone to pray for Pope Francis, wishing him a speedy recovery.
In his address to the delegation, Cardinal Miguel Ángel Ayuso, Prefect of the Dicastery for Interreligious Dialogue, reiterated the prayers of the Buddhist delegation for the Holy Father's wellbeing, and reminded them that we share, as friends do, "the same joys, sorrows, concerns and visions". The two delegations, Catholic and Buddhist, in fact, do represent a pilgrimage of friends, the Cardinal continued, one which Pope Francis has witnessed.