FABC delegates explore Thailand's Catholic history on pilgrimage
The Cardinal and Bishop delegates, along with priests, religious and lay people attending the General Conference of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences, went on pilgrimage on Thursday to explore Thailand’s Catholic and social history.
The Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC) has been holding its General Conference in Baan Phu Waan Pastoral Training Center of Bangkok Archdiocese to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the foundation of the FABC, an event which began on 12 October.
Now in its third week, the Cardinal and Bishop delegates along with invited guests including priests, religious and lay Catholics, went on pilgrimage on Thursday to explore Thailand’s Catholic and social history.
Their first stop was Sacred Heart Church and School in Wat Pleng. Here the FABC Delegates and guests were warmly welcomed by school children waving colourful flags.
They were then treated to two performances – a traditional Thai dance, followed by a delightful performance of “It’s a Wonderful World”, complete with choreography.
Next on the pilgrimage was a stop at Sacred Heart of Jesus seminary, the former seminary that served Bangkok, just a ten-minute drive from Sacred Heart Church. Here, Blessed Nicholas Bunkerd Kitbamrung, a native-born Thai priest and martyr, completed a portion of his seminary formation.
The group then headed to the Nativity of Our Lady Cathedral, where Holy Mass was celebrated by Bangkok’s Cardinal Archbishop Francis Xavier Kriengsak.
He began his homily reminding those present that “Jesus Himself and His work” is the “most important thing in our lives”. The gift of the Holy Spirit received by the first Apostles was what completely changed their lives, he continued. That gift allowed the Apostles to witness to Jesus through the love they showed one another.
The Cardinal continued saying that is not only a common faith that holds Christians together, but that fact that we are Christ’s body, “sharing one same life”. Thus, since Pentecost, Christians “make the Risen body of Christ appear in a clearer way every day…. People of other faiths will be able to meet Jesus still present in the Church at this time, now-a-days, and Jesus will manifest his love to them because the God of the Christian is love”.
This is the real attraction for people today, just as it was at the time of the early Christians, because people living today are looking for love, the Cardinal noted. In conclusion, he declared that the key to evangelization today, therefore, is the proclamation of the Gospel and the witness of Christians lives that live the faith in the way they show their love.
After enjoying a beautifully prepared lunch consisting in a variety of Thai cuisine, the group moved on to NaSatta Park. Here they toured a museum depicting various aspects of Thai history, culture and politics, as well as a bit of history about Buddhism in Thailand.
The group then returned to Baan Phu Waan Pastoral Training Center where they will pick up their work tomorrow discussing the Final Document due to be released at the end of the General Conference.
Sr Bernadette Mary Reis