08/16/2012, 00.00
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On Assumption Day, Thai Church turns to Christ and launches Year of Faith

by Weena Kovidhavanij
In a letter, the president of the Bishops' Conference underscores the role Basic Ecclesial Communities play. The prelate highlights the value of the Word of God, the sacraments and prayers. He calls on priests and religious guides to encourage pastoral visits to meet believers' requests. He appeals to Mary for a life of faith, hope and love.

Bangkok (AsiaNews) - On the feast day of the Assumption, Thailand's Catholic Church has launched a four-year plan (2012-2015) to boost the faith through the example and teachings of Jesus Christ, the president of the Bishops' Conference of Thailand announced. The plan is to strengthen Basic Ecclesial Communities (BEC) as the venues where the faithful can rediscover evangelical values and share their experiences of faith and communion. A number of anniversaries and events will also mark this year, like the Year of Faith 2012-2013 as announced by the Holy See, the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council summoned by John XXIII, and the 20th anniversary of the promulgation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church by John Paul II. All these moments will prepare the ground for the Holy Year that the Thai Church will celebrate in 2014-2015.

In his pastoral letter released yesterday, feast day of the Assumption, Archbishop Louis Chamniern Santisukniran, president of the Bishops' Conference of Thailand, focused on the meaning of restoring the followers of Jesus Christ to their communities in 2012-2015.

The prelate noted that the Catholic faith is a blessing God imparts through baptism. However, renewing of one's lifestyle, returning to the values and examples of Basic Ecclesial Communities, studying the Word of God, performing the Sacraments and praying are needed to nurture what the baptism bestowed.

In order to boost the faith and contribute to the growth of the country and its citizens, as Catholic believers the faithful must follow certain guidelines laid down by the bishops.

Similarly, the clergy, individually or in religious congregations at the diocesan and national level, must work together to promote Gospel reading and encourage prayers, using more the Bible in their pastoral work. They must deepen their understanding of the Second Vatican Council and the Catechism. Priests and community leaders must be encouraged to carry out pastoral visits to the faithful in their own areas.

In conjunction with the Assumption, Archbishop Louis Chamniern Santisukniran called on Our Lady to help the faithful have greater faith, hope and love, together with renewed trust in the proclamation of the Word of God in the service of Thai society.


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