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.
Bangkok (AsiaNews) - Our joy is "uncontainable, because the Holy Father is at the heart of every Thai Catholic". Sister Magdala (photo) told AsiaNews, acting as spokeswoman for about twenty sisters. This morning the nun was among the more than 10 thousand people who welcomed Pope Francis, his first immersion among crowds of this apostolic trip to Thailand.
The pontiff met the Catholic community ahead of greeting patients and staff of the St. Louis Hospital, a healthcare facility par excellence and the flagship of the Thai Church's commitment in the medical field.
Coming from all over the country but also from the Philippines, Cambodia and Vietnam, Catholics began to pour into the hospital complex and adjacent land of St. Louis parish as early dawn this morning. Before standing on chairs and small erected stands, they had to pass two strict security checks: one prepared by the Immigration authorities of Bangkok and the other by the event's organizing committee.
A few minutes after 11.00, the gate of the nunciature opened and Pope Francis entered the parish on board the Popemobile. The crowd exploded with joy and started shouting "Viva il papa" . The pontiff's car traveled the paths around the church, then the ones that line the school and finally went inside the hospital. After his return to the nunciature, those present began to flow out in a composed and orderly manner. Before leaving the place, small groups of people gathered in prayer (photo); others entered the church of St. Louis for a minute of recollection to digest what happened just before, in images projected on a screen placed in front of the altar (photo).
For the Thai Church, meeting the Pope in such an important hospital is particularly significant. The event highlights the attention that the community pays to the elderly and disabled, through state-of-the-art organizations and facilities.
The St. Louis is considered "one of the best hospitals in the country", says a source to AsiaNews. Thai public health, he continues, is "very accessible because it allows you to receive medical treatment by paying about 30 bahts (less than one euro). However, the services are poor. This is why, if possible, the population prefers to turn to private structures like the St. Louis ".
Despite the shortcomings of public health, the State nevertheless manages to provide medical and financial assistance to the most disadvantaged sections of society: the elderly and the disabled. For every person entitled, Bangkok offers free care and pays 600 bahts a month.