12/01/2004, 00.00
THAILAND
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The governor of Bangkok attends a mass for peace in the south

by Weena Kowitwanij

Bangkok (AsiaNews) – Last Sunday 28 November, the newly elected governor of Bangkok, Apirak Kosayotin, attended a mass for peace in southern Thailand and for the population of the region, struck by violence since January this year . The mass was organised by the Bishops' Conference.

The commitment of the Thai nation as "a people" to search for "harmony, peace, to be able to live happily together" was reiterated by Fr Veera Arpornrat, who celebrated Mass at the Cathedral of the Assumption. "As believers," he said, " we must live our faith with conviction and give hope to others, especially to those who have lost their way, so they may live again in dignity. We cannot only send them 'paper birds' as symbols of peace, we must live in peace with all."

The governor Kosayotin said he was "truly proud" to have been given this special opportunity to pray together with Catholics for those who "had lost their lives in the three sister provinces in the south". Today – he repeated – we are united with the queen who with her own funds has just acquired 600 acres of land for families of the  military and officials who were killed in the south.  Finally, the governor expressed hope that "the Thai people may live peacefully together, without distinctions based on race or religion".

Throughout the mass, Fr Veera hailed 25 Catechumens, who will be baptised at Easter next year. This is a traditional gesture undertaken with those who are studying catechism, that they are publicly presented to the community.
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