07/24/2006, 00.00
THAILAND – Asian Youth Day

Young Thais, including a Buddhist, to leave for Asian Youth Day

Weena Kowitwanij
Some 23 young Thais will attend Asian Youth Day. In view of the event, the Thai Church organised seminars to prepare them. Sessions were held on life, drugs and dialogue. But the greatest challenge seems to be society's unbridled competitiveness.

Bangkok (AsiaNews) – Young Thai Catholics have taken part in seminars organised by the Catholic Commission for the Youth during which they discussed their country's problems, ways they can contribute to building a better society and how to prepare for the Fourth Asian Youth Day that is scheduled to take place between July 28 and August 5 in Hong Kong. Altogether 23 young Thais from 2 archdioceses and 8 dioceses will be part of the group. A young Buddhist man will also attend.

In speaking to them, Commission Chairman Mgr Joseph Sangval Surasarang reminded them that they had a "very good opportunity . . . to have an experience to share with others, to meet new friends."

He hoped he said, that "today's young people would be witnesses to the faith, helping one another, lending a hand in particular to those in need," because "in our society we are used to seeing young people worry only about themselves, competing in school without helping their friends." Instead, they should always remember "that to improve society itself, we must first learn to help one another."

"We organised two seminars to prepare the kids going to Hong Kong, one of them Buddhist," said Fr John Bosco Suksan Chaopaknam, secretary of the Catholic Commission for Youth. "They will be accompanied by five priests from various dioceses."

During the preparatory sessions participants listed the country's problems. On top of the list of most worrisome issues they put society's unbridled competitiveness, which leaves little room for families to be together, as well as drug addiction and violence.

What is more, Thailand's Catholic community has not been spared such problems. Young Catholics "do not attend mass regularly and values such as forgiveness and life have lost their lustre."

Patchara Chonlawat, one of the trip's organisers, explained that this year's Asian Youth Day has for theme 'Youth: hope for Asian families'.

"In our meetings with the young people, we stressed the meaning of 'hope' understood as trust in God's closeness even in one's most difficult times," she said.

For this reason, Ms Patchara tried to explain to them that as "young Asians we must lead a life of hope and have trust in one's neighbours. As members of a family we must take part in building a community based on peace and love. As members of society we must bring hope and God's love to everyone, especially to those who are most marginalised. As young Catholics we must make a commitment to dialogue with our friends in other religions."

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