Bangkok (Agenzia Fides) - "There is a lot of enthusiasm in the small Thai Catholic community. We are 390,000 baptized out of 65 million inhabitants. We are ready to welcome Cardinal Fernando Filoni, representative of the Holy See, who is coming to visit us. "A great honor and a great joy for us all. Christians are celebrating and feel the closeness of the Holy See, but even non-Christians appreciate it. The Mass that the Cardinal celebrates tomorrow, May 18, in Sampran, the presence of over 4,000 faithful and also of many non-Christians is expected": says to Agenzia Fides Fr. Peter Watchasin Kritjaroen, National Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies (PMS) in Thailand, where Cardinal Fernando Filoni, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples is on a pastoral visit (see Fides, 15/5/2019).
"The visit is to seal the opening of the celebrations for the 350th anniversary of the establishment of the Apostolic Vicariate of Siam. Let's go back to our roots to remember that announcement brought by the first missionaries who planted the seed of the Gospel, to receive new grace and strength on our path today", notes the National Director of the PMS, hoping for "a new season and a new missionary zeal in order to give the Gospel of salvation, peace, charity to the Thai people".
The visit of Cardinal Filoni comes at a time when the country, after the elections of March 24, is preparing to return from the military regime to democracy. "The population in Thailand, and with it the Catholic faithful minority - says Fr. Peter - want peace, security, tranquility, harmony. And it will accept the result of the polls, hoping that the new government can lead the country on the path of economic progress that brings prosperity and well-being for all". (PA) (Agenzia Fides, 17/5/2019)