05/02/2011, 00.00
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Thai Church prays for John Paul II, calls for peace in the country

by Weena Kowitwanij
Card Michai Kitbunchu leads Divine Mercy service, stressing the love Catholics have for the newly Blessed. May he “bless our families” and preserve peace for Thailand.
Bangkok (AsiaNews) – Card Michael Michai Kitbunchu, archbishop emeritus of Bangkok, led the service celebrating the Day of Divine Mercy in Bangkok’s Assumption Cathedral in a moment of union with the universal Church on the occasion of the beatification of John Paul II by Pope Benedict XVI.

John Paul II himself made Mgr Kitbunchu cardinal in 1983 in the fifth year of his pontificate. In his homily, the prelate said, “Today, Today Catholics in Thailand join the Universal Church to declare publicly to the World that Pope John Paul II has been praised for his holiness, his faith, and a witness of faith in God.  We are fortunate to be here in this cathedral where Pope John Paul II met with priests, religious and the faithful.”

Card Kitbunchu urged Catholics to “bear all sorts of passing trials that touch our lives in connections with truth, hope and faith amidst all the difficulties of present-day society.  Always thank God in times of difficulty, whatever it may be: health, economy or else. Don’t be discouraged; be steadfast in God’ providential care for you.”

“The Blessed Pope John Paul II is especially close to Thai people because His Holiness visited Thailand in 1984. At that time, some non-Catholics asked me why the pope was so great and holy for Catholics.  The answer was that the pope, as the leader of the Universal Church, gives us his love, which we should return.”

Card Kitbunchu was at the Vatican when John Paul II passed away. Talking about it, he said, “What impressed me so much was when people in Saint Peter’s Square heard the news of the death of His Holiness. Instead of sorrow, they shouted, ‘Santo Subito; Santo Subito’ (sainthood right away), which is still echoed today.”

The procession for the Divine Mercy followed the Mass. Led by the chaplain and representatives from the six district of the Congregation of Divine Mercy in Bangkok, it ended with a prayer service in front of the statue of the Blessed John Paul II, that he might bless “our families” and preserve peace for Thailand.

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