PIME missionary in Thailand sees Easter as the time to discover the Risen Christ after suffering and death
Like Christ, the life of each of us is also about suffering-death and joy-resurrection. Prasit dealt with his own fall and redemption by helping Fr Adriano Pelosin in his pastoral work. Together with the members of St Mark parish, they are taking care of two twins: John and Paul.
Pathumthani (AsiaNews) – What follows is an Easter letter Fr Adriano Pelosin for all his friends and benefactors, about his mission with stories of grace and conversion due to it. Hailing from Loreggia (Padua, Italy), the 72-year-old missionary with the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME) has been in Thailand for some 40 years. The clergyman is also superior of the Thai Missionary Institute. Since 2013, he has carried out his work in St Mark parish in Pathumthani, a small Catholic community that has great vitality and spirit of initiative.
The Paschal mystery has two aspects: the suffering and death of the son of God and his Resurrection. The life of each of us is also about suffering-death and joy-resurrection.
A very dear collaborator of mine, Prasit, 48, had a tormented childhood together with his parents, three brothers and a sister. Prasit's parents were thrown out because his maternal grandparents did not approve of the marriage. Thus, this new family had to live alone, far from the solidarity of the village and in the most extreme poverty.
After the eighth grade, Prasit came to the church in Lampang where he completed grade 12 and was baptised. At that time, I was in Bangkok where I began to help AIDS patients (1987-88). Prasit studied at the university and helped me in reaching out to them.
After university, he went to work for a Redemptorist Fathers' organisation that saves street kids in Pataya: the city of prostitution. There Prasit lost his way and tried to make up for the humiliations experienced in his childhood any way he could. He wanted to become rich, famous, with many friends, and have fun like the rich do. For this he got into debt and had to flee. He came to Pak Kret, as an educator in PIME family homes. He then went on to become an assistant for the kids at the Meeting Community.
Whenever he was discouraged, he came to stay with me for a week. He would get out of the doldrums and take a few steps forward, that is, he understood the source of his injuries and spiritual desolation and saw more clearly the action of the Holy Spirit in him: the alternating of pain-death and joy-resurrection.
For almost six months Prasit has been living with me in St Mark parish in Pathumthani. We get up every morning early to pray, along with three lay Thai missionary women, eight kids and some would-be missionaries. Prasit, me and the women find joy, strength, courage, light, direction, sweetness and completeness in prayer: the office of readings and lauds, and vespers and the Eucharist in the evening. During the day, we visit people in extreme need. We have discovered the joy of service and the sharing of suffering.
Just yesterday morning, after breakfast, Prasit told me that he had brought home two twins, children of a couple who often take drugs. The father had gone to work and, having fallen from the roof of a house, was admitted to the hospital in Ayutaya – 35 km from where we live. It was an opportunity for us to take care of the two children, whom I called John and Paul. Prasit took their mom to care for their father in the hospital.
Who is taking care of the 11-month-old twins? You guessed it! A couple of vagabonds, whom I have known for about thirty years and who come to ask for help when they are in trouble. Now the husband, Watsan, is on dialysis: he has to purify his blood four times a day and so he decided to stay with me in the parish. His wife, who used to get drunk every night, now is fine and is preparing to be baptised on Holy Saturday night. Now they are a model couple: they help farm the garden and raise chickens, ducks, fish, sheep and now also John and Paul. This is the Paschal mystery unfolding ... Even in the twins’ parents, who were here today with me and inspired me to write this letter.
Prasit went to get his father and mother and brought them here to meet the children and thank us in the parish, because we take care of them. With them there was also an elderly gentleman who was released from prison a few months ago. He had been convicted of drug dealing. His name is Sanè.
He made his home available to John and Paul's parents. Even Sanè was here to thank us, because we welcomed two of his grandchildren – a six-year-old and a four-year-old – in PIME’s St Martin’s family homes: the children of his children, who abandoned them ... Sanè takes drugs and often gets drunk but loves his grandchildren, and doesn’t want to break away from them. He understands however that at least for now he cannot raise them, also because he has to work ... The mystery of suffering and death that will lead to joy and resurrection ... We want to be part of this mystery together with Christ, who is present in the lives of so many. Yesterday some parishioners help with the youth group: they too spoke to Sanè and the twins’ parents. They played with the twins ... At that moment we all became "relatives". This word in Thai has a profound meaning: it means being "co-responsible for lives, one for the other".
This is the paschal mystery that is completed with the words of Jesus to Mary Magdalene, “go to my brothers and tell them, 'I am going to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God’" (John 20:17).
From a distance, I thank all the parents, who help the children in Mae Chan, Chiangrai and Pathumthani. I assure you of our daily prayer. I thank many friends and relatives, especially those in Loreggia and Gemonio, Vicenza (Madonna della Pace), Padua (Ponso) and Bologna (San Lorenzo in Collina).
I wish you all a Happy and Holy Easter to discover the Risen Christ after suffering and death.