07/04/2018, 15.37
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For PIME missionary, Thais are united in joy after missing boys found in cave

Fr Marco Ribolini’s parish is about 20 kilometres from the caves. “People showed great participation, giving rise to an important prayer movement,” he said. Urged by the country’s bishops, Catholic communities are praying for the trapped youth. Meanwhile, rescue operations continue with heavy rains forecast in the coming days.

Chiang Rai (AsiaNews) – Finding the football team trapped in the Tham Luang cave “represents a moment of profound emotion that has united all Thais,” said Fr Marco Ribolini, a missionary with of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME) and parish priest in Ban Thoet Thai, a town about 20 kilometres away from the cave.

"During what has been a truly national crisis, people showed great participation, giving rise to an important prayer movement in which Christians have also taken part,” Fr Ribolini told AsiaNews

“What is more one of the kids trapped in the cave is an ethnic Hakka studying for his baptism in a Protestant Church," he added.

When the 13 were still missing, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Thailand issued a letter calling on Catholics to pray and celebrate Masses to ask for the grace of rescue.

"In addition to the religious services, we organised various moments of adoration of the cross and prayer in our parish during which we recited the rosary,” the PIME missionary noted.

"All Catholic communities in the country organised something over the past few days. We chose to do nothing on the site because we did not think it would be appropriate to create even more confusion,” the priest explained.

Medical and rescue teams (pictures) who have reached the 12 young players and their coach have started to train them to swim and dive in case they have to make their way through the flooded cave to reach the surface.

On the outside, rescue officials continue to pump water out of the cave as heavy rains are forecast for the next few days.

Some military medical personnel examined the boys yesterday morning after a dangerous six-hour dive-and-trek in the flooded cave.

The trapped footballers have been given minerals, food, water, and lighting. Their eyes had been in the dark for a long time and needed to adjust to normal light. Other than that, they are all in good health.

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