03/16/2015, 00.00
THAILAND
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Thai Church celebrates new Cardinal: “Unworthy” of the task, but willing to serve

by Weena Kowitwanij
A ceremony at the minor seminary in Bangkok, in the presence of the Catholic community and some Buddhist religious, celebrates the appointment to the College of Cardinals of Msgr. Kovithavanij. He says: "I felt crushed by the appointment, I asked for strength from God. And the Pope's words have given me peace: we were chosen to love and serve." The joy of the Nuncio, elderly Card. Kitbunchu and religious communities.

Bangkok (AsiaNews) - When he received the news of his appointment as a Cardinal "I felt unworthy and I went to the chapel to pray. Here I asked God to give me the strength to accept this grace, but I wanted to mention that the mission is His and certainly not mine. Even after the prayer I could not sleep, worried by many people's expectations of me. But then, hearing the Pope's homily in front of the new cardinals, I felt better: Francis reminded us that our primary task is to love and serve. It gave me peace". With these words, the new Thai cardinal, Archbishop of Bangkok, Msgr. Kriengsak Kovitvanit, closed his homily at a thanksgiving ceremony for his appointment.

The liturgy was held in the John Paul II hall of the St. Joseph's minor seminary, in the Thai capital. Together with the Archbishop were the Apostolic Nuncio Msgr. Paul Tschang In-nam, Card. Kitbunchu, ten Thai bishops, about 250 priests and religious, and 25 Buddhist monks. Almost 3 thousand faithful who had come to celebrate the new cardinal were also present.

After the ceremony, the cardinal said "a Buddhist religious friend of mine came to congratulate me. And said: 'Father, have you heard the Pope? Your job is to love and serve!'. And I replied: 'That's why you must join me to love and serve according to the model of Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd'. Pray for me. "
The Apostolic Nuncio, Msgr. Paul Tschang In-nam, expressed the joy of the Catholic community: "We are full of joy and we want to thank the Lord for this special blessing granted to the Thai Church, right at the beginning of the year that celebrates the 350th anniversary of the first Synod of Siam. The pontiff expressed the hope that the new cardinals could help him in service to the universal Church. And it is an important moment, with the ongoing reform of the Curia".

According to the archbishop emeritus of the capital, Card. Michael Michai Kitbunchu - the first Thai to enter the College of Cardinals - the appointment of his successor "is God's will. The strength and power of the Holy Cross will accompany the cardinal in the various tasks that the new title requires".
Fr. Apisith Krisralumn, president of the Union of Thai religious said that "God has a plan for our country, and wants to prepare the clergy to carry on the intentions and the mission of Christ, the Good Shepherd. The religious are ready to cooperate and to support the initiatives of our new cardinal, hoping to strengthen the Kingdom of God, the Kingdom of His love".

Even Sister Irene Chamnatham, mother superior of the Congregation of St. Paul de Chartres and president of the Union of the religious superiors, congratulated Card. Kovithavanij: "We will always remember you in our prayers and ask the Lord to grant you the strength of wisdom and understanding, so you can learn more about the plan that God has for you".

 

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