03/22/2010, 00.00
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The testimony of lay Thais in formation of catechumens

by Weena Kowitwanij
3 April in Bangkok more than 100 people will make the profession of faith and embrace Catholicism. In a familiar model that is increasingly individualistic, the Catholic communities become a place of sharing and support.

Bangkok (AsiaNews) - Every year in Thailand, during the Easter season, parishes organize meetings and prayer for the catechumens preparing for baptism. The sacrament is preformed during the Easter Vigil and in preparing converts role of the laity is proving increasingly important, given that they "share the task of mission and evangelization." On April 3 there will be over 100 new believers who fully embrace the Catholic faith.

Mgr. Francis Xavier Vera Arpondratana, president of the Episcopal Commission for Catechesis, confirms a "lack of catechists in parishes." This is why the Archdiocese of Bangkok has sought to strengthen "the presence of the laity in the work of evangelization", by enhancing their formation so that they become full-time catechists. "  

Recently Brother Tinnaratna Khomkris responsible for the pastoral care of the bishops, organized educational trips to Singapore and Malaysia to monitor the activities of basic Christian communities in both countries in the formation of catechumens. "The grassroots communities - said Mgr. Arpondratana - are very useful because modern families are no longer able to offer shelter and sharing as in the past”.  And if individual households are not sufficient, the community as a whole must act to ensure "support" for those who are preparing to receive baptism.

Among the hundred people who will receive the baptism April 3 next there is also Lailuck Hasep, in charge of sales at a Thai company. Her conversion to Christianity, said the woman, which came about by following the example of her Catholic husband, has helped her live with greater confidence and trust even the workplace. Lailuck Hasep confirms that "the job is very competitive, so as to arrive at point of "putting on an alarm every 30 minutes to check the trend of sales with my subordinates: a source of enormous stress".  "Having attended the Mass with my husband - emphasizes the manager - and the homily of the priest, helped me find an answer to my questions."      

The woman also invited colleagues to follow the catechism classes and 20 of them (out of 30) have accepted the proposal. During Lent, she continues, we encourage each other to pray, fast, to live a better relationship with others. "At the Easter Vigil two of us will be baptized - she concludes - but we all have benefited from prayer" to improve their work and family life.  

Klongverachai, a 25 year old catechumen, claims to have converted "because I want to find a true meaning to my life. I want to be a good Catholic. "


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