09/23/2008, 00.00
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Following in the footsteps of Saint Paul young Thai Catholics bear witness to Christ

by Weena Kowitwanij
Thai Catholics celebrate National Youth Day by remembering last July’s World Youth Day in Sydney. Young people are urged to proclaim the “Good News” following the example of the Apostle to the Nations.
Bangkok (AsiaNews) – Young Thai Catholics play an “essential role” in society because they represent the “strength and hope” of the Church, present and future, said the chairman of the Youth Commission of the Bishops’ Conference during ‘National Youth Day,’ held last Saturday. In his address Mgr Joseph Sangval Surasarang noted that the highlights of 2008 were World Youth Day In Sydney (Australia) and the proclamation of the Pauline Year by Pope Benedict XVI in which the Holy Father invited the faithful to be “witnesses of Christ” in their daily life, for it is every Christian’s duty to proclaim the Good News.

Mgr Sangval Surasarang also gave the Eucharistic blessing to the more than 300 young people present, telling them that if they “Let the Holy Spirit come upon you, you will be filled with power, and you will be witnesses for me in Jerusalem.”

A young Thai delegate to Sydney’s World Youth Day, Vasin Manalurangkru, described his experience as he stood before Benedict XVI and the hundreds of thousands of young people present at the event.

“After sharing my personal experience I spoke on behalf of Catholic youth from Thailand.” In speaking to the Pope, he said: “We promise that we will try our best to be the witnesses of Jesus Christ in our country.’

A young woman from the diocese of Chiengmai, Pranom Manee, spoke about how she felt “God’s presence” during the prayers she recited in Sydney in company of other young people. She added that in meeting young people from every corner of the world she learnt a lot “about religion, culture and a broader vision of society”.

Nawapatra  Mukprasert, who heads a Catholic youth group in Bangkok, said that ‘National Youth Day’ is open to everyone. For this reason “we asked people to bring along a friend” even if they were not Catholic.

Thailand’s National Youth Day included a meeting in which the role the Holy Spirit plays in the lives of the faithful was further explained, a series of testimonials by young people who attended World Youth Day in Sydney, a Mass and then a communal meal.

In the afternoon people took part in the C-Games, i.e. Catholic Games, promoting solidarity and friendship.

Rapeepan Chobsa-arj, a young woman from the parish of Our Lady of Fatima, said that “this day has helped me strengthen my faith and do something for others.”

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