Bangkok (AsiaNews) - The "joy and happiness" of God has filled people’s hearts on this special occasion of celebration. "I ask you to begin with the confession," then pass "through the Holy Door" and receive an indulgence, thus preparing them "to reach out to the next" and to show "mercy of God".
With these words Cardinal Kriengsak Kovithavanij, archbishop of Bangkok, presided over the opening ceremony of the Holy Door of the Cathedral of the Assumption, at 6 pm last Dec. 13. The function that celebrated the start of the Year of Mercy in Thailand was also attended the Apostolic Nuncio Msgr. Paul Tschang In-Nam, three bishops, 40 diocesan priests and one religious, and about 2 thousand lay people, men and women.
The Cathedral of the Assumption in 2019 will celebrate its centenary and thus is currently under renovation – this includes work on the altar, tabernacle, etc - to restore the place of worship to the original design of 1919.
After the homily, the cardinal celebrated the rite of consecration of the new altar and the walls of the cathedral, with a reminder of the crypt where the remains of the bishops and missionaries of the past are entombed. These include Fr. Nicholas Boonkerd Kitbamrung, proclaimed a saint by Pope John Paul II March 5, 2000 at the Vatican.
Another event on the calendar in this jubilee year of Mercy is also the 50th anniversary of the elevation of the mission of Siam to the Archdiocese of Bangkok.
The Church of Thailand has three holy doors: the first is that of the Assumption Cathedral in Bangkok, opened on December 13. There is then the door of the Basilica of the Blessed Fr. Nicholas in Sampran, in the province of Nakhon Pathom, which opens January 12, 2016. Finally, the church of Saint Joseph in Ayutthaya, in the same province, which launched the first mission to China and Indochina by Mgr. Pierre Lambert de la Motte, which will be opened on March 19 feast of St. Joseph.
Speaking at the opening celebration of the Holy Door, the apostolic nuncio in Thailand pointed out that "the cathedral is God’s house where we celebrate Mass and it is also a place with an abundance of blessings." Because in all the most important moments (baptism, communion, marriage, death) of a person's life, continues the prelate, "the church is the place where we encounter God." And Divine Mercy "is the heart of the Gospel."