11/19/2009, 00.00
THAILAND
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Thai Church to ceelbrate Vocation Day on the Solemnity of Christ the King

by Weena Kowitwanij
The bishop of Bangkok writes to the country’s Catholics. “Everyone’s vocation, whatever it may be, is the gift of God’s love for us.” The prelate urges the faithful to respond “with courage” and “resolve” to God’s call to bear witness to “Jesus Christ in their daily living, family, society and work.”
Bangkok (AsiaNews) – The Thai Church will celebrate National Vocation Day on the Solemnity of Christ the King, which falls this year on 22 November. For the occasion, Mgr Francis Xavier Kriengsak Kovithavanij, archbishop of Bangkok and president of the Catholic Commission for the Clergy, addressed a pastoral letter to all the faithful in order to encourage priestly vocations and get believers to act as missionaries towards others.

On the day in which the Universal Church celebrates “Our Lord Jesus Christ the King”, the bishop of Bangkok called on all the faithful “to become aware that everyone’s vocation, whatever it may be, is the gift of God’s love for us.”

For Mgr Kovithavanij, Vocation Day means “affirming that we are called to be the people of God, lead a holy life and participate in His holy mission.”

In his address, the bishop said that “the significant role of the faithful is to bear witness to Jesus Christ in their daily living, family, society and work.”

Thailand has about almost 335,000 Catholics or just over 0.5 per cent of the population in a country of 64 million, mostly Buddhist. There are 750 priests (471 diocesan and 279 religious), 98 men religious and 1,596 nuns, operating in 478 churches across the country.

In his letter, the bishop reminded them that their call to the priesthood and the religious life “shows God’s love for the world.” He urged them to live their vocation “according to special charisms and spirituality” and “walk toward holiness [. . .] bearing witness of the Church’s mission of redemption.”

Finally, the prelate called on each Catholic to pray that the Thai Church may benefit from more vocations, not only more priests or religious in addition to the current 26 seminarians, but also more believers. Everyone, he said, must see vocation ‘as a token of the Church’s love” and “accept it with courage, resolve and full of God’s hope and love.”

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