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    » 03/22/2014, 00.00

    THAILAND

    Thailand's first Benedictine monastery opens in Chiang Mai

    Claudio Corti

    For the 'Land of Smiles,' this is first male monastery. All the resident monks are from Vietnam, who left their country because their own government is limiting growth of local monasteries, already bursting at the seams because of the growth of vocations.

    Chiang Mai (AsiaNews) - At last, Thailand's Catholic Church opened the country's first Benedictine monastery. The inauguration ceremony was held in the presence of Mgr Francis Xavier Vira Arpondratana, bishop of Chiang Mai.

    The event was an "historic" moment because the new structure is the first male monastery in the "Land of Smiles," already home to seven female monasteries (Carmelites and Poor Clares).

    Held on 18 January, the ceremony saw the presence of Mgr Antonio Mattiazzo, archbishop of Padua, who had suggested and supported the project after receiving a positive response from Abbot Stéphane Huynh, head of the Benedictine Monastery in Thien An (Hue) in Vietnam.

    Vietnam is already home to three Benedictine monasteries, which are literally "bursting" in terms of vocations. However, Vietnamese authorities do not seem very keen on authorising a fourth one. For this reason, setting up a new monastery in neighbouring Thailand seemed a good idea.

    The new monastery is located just outside Chiang Mai, a city in northern Thailand. It has ten cells for monks, eight guestrooms and a chapel on the ground floor.

    The five resident monks, all from Vietnam (including Abbot Stéphane who retired because of age and decided to come to live in the newly founded Thai structure), follow the old rule of Saint Benedict, alternating moments of prayer with work, growing maize, rice and fruit trees.

    The importance of the Benedictine institution, which is a sign of the growth and vitality of the Vietnamese Church, is the first concrete step in the "new evangelisation," since its importance does not lie primarily in its educational or social role, as it does in its monastic and contemplative life, which are also the bases of Buddhism.

    For Thais, a monk is in fact a "man of God", dedicated to prayers and meditation.

     

     

     

     

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    See also

    06/07/2015 THAILAND
    For Chiang Mai bishop, young people are the key to evangelisation in Thailand
    The country’s northernmost diocese is very promising in terms of conversions, especially among tribals seeking a better life. Housed in several Church-run facilities, thousands of young people are helped in their studies. Evangelisation includes fighting the scourge of drugs and consumerism.

    21/10/2006 THAILAND - AMC
    Asian Mission Congress: transforming Asian cultures with daily faith

    The third day of the Congress focused on the impact of faith on culture, economy and social problems. But attention was taken up by tonight, for the celebration of "diversity of cultures" with songs and dances from each nation.



    17/10/2006 THAILAND – AMC
    Thailand to host Asian Mission Congress
    Catholics and Buddhists welcome about 1,000 "Vatican" delegates ". Cardinal Sepe will meet the king. No sign of any Chinese delegation so far. Middle Eastern Churches are also absent.

    20/10/2006 THAILAND – AMC
    Asian Mission Congress: Leaving ghettos, Christians in dialogue with other religions

    The second day of the congress has been dedicated to testimonies and dialogue with Asian religions. Models upheld were: John Paul II Francis Xavier, John of Montecorvino, Matthew Ricci, and Robert de Nobili. Some converts shared their testimony.



    18/10/2006 THAILAND – AMC
    Mission Congress in Chiang Mai: the small flock bears witness that "Jesus is Asian"
    Faced with persecution and obstacles, the Church does not seek confrontation; instead, it experiences the enthusiasm that comes from bearing witness. Pope sends gifts to Asian Mission Congress.



    Editor's choices

    CHINA - VATICAN
    Vatican silence over Shanghai’s Mgr Ma Daqin causing confusion and controversy

    Bernardo Cervellera

    For some, Mgr Ma’s blog post praising the Patriotic Association and acknowledging his mistakes is nothing but “dirt”. For others, he chose humiliation for the “sake of his diocese”. Many wonder why the Holy See has remained silent about the article’s content and the bishop’s persecution. Some suspect the Vatican views the episode in positive terms. Yet, the Ma Daqin affair raises a major question. Has Benedict XVI’s Letter to Chinese Catholics (which describes the Patriotic Association as “incompatible with Catholic doctrine”) been abolished? If it has, who did it? A journey of compromises without truth is full of risks.


    CHINA – VATICAN
    Mgr Ma Daqin: the text of his “confession”

    Mons. Taddeo Ma Daqin

    Four years after quitting the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association, the bishop of Shanghai “admits” his faults on his blog, praising the organisation that controls the Church. We publish his article, almost in its entirety. Translation by AsiaNews.


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