(AsiaNews) - Across the country, yestereday there was celebrated the
"National Youth Day". Created in 1985, when the United Nations
launched the international year of youth, the day was assigned to 20 September
because according to the Thai tradition, two kings were born on that date, Rama
V and Rama VIII, both of whom ascended to the throne at a young age.
For the occasion, Mons. Silvio Siripong Charatsri, President
of the Thai Bishops' Conference, sent a message to young people invoking the
words of Pope Benedict XVI for the 27th World Youth Day, with the theme
"Rejoice in the Lord always (Phil 4:4)". In the text, the Bishop
explains that the young peopel's joy comes from being united, from being
Christians, from having faith in God, making their own contribution to the
Church and spreading good around them. "We should", he said,
"be joyful always ... even when we face problems, asking God to receive
his blessing to face the difficulties".
"This year", Mons. Charatsri explained, "is
special because Benedict XVI has announced the year of faith, to encourage
Christians, especially young people, to participate in the New Evangelization.
We should be excited about experiencing the presence of God, thanks to the
'bridge of faith' always open for us thanks to our closeness to Christ and to
being members of the Church through baptism".
Mons. Charatsri reminds young people of the urgency of the
mission: "the present time challenges you to be courageous witnesses of
Christ in life and to proclaim Him before all your friends, to Catholics who do
not practice the faith, so that we may have the courage to return to him with a
On the occasion of this Day, other religious figures also
sent messages. The venerable Phra Thepyanmahamuni, the Buddhist Abbot of the
Dhamakai temple, stated that "young people are the future of the world and
there will be no peace if young people will create problems for the
world". The Abbot has created a project called "The Virtuous
Stars" to encourage young people to be "seedlings of peace"
through discipline, respect for others and collaboration with all social
institutions: the Church, the family, the school. Teachers and students
participating in the "Virtuous Stars" often testify to the quality
and effectiveness of the project.
Woravuth, a student from Rajprachanukraw, said that for him,
after having participated in the project, "now it's easier to be happy and
to do something good."
Abbot Phra Thepyanmahamuni reiterated that he wanted to
continue the experience of "Virtuous Stars", now in its fifth year.
Chaiwat Chertbumrung, President of Thai Youth Congress,
appealed to the government to support the education of young people and to
promote their freedoms and rights. He wants the government to increase the
funds allocated to this objective.