The Vatican’s top official overseeing the Catholic Church’s missions worldwide sets out on a visit to Thailand on Thursday to join in the celebrations of the 350th anniversary of the establishment of the Apostolic Vicariate of Siam, that officially marked the beginning of the Catholic Church in the southeast Asian nation.
Cardinal Fernando Filoni, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, arrives in the Thai capital, Bangkok, on 16 May, in Bangkok. The following day, Friday, he will visit the Assumption Cathedral where he will meet the country’s bishops.
On Saturday he will travel to Sampran, about 30 kilometres west of Bangkok, to preside over a solemn Eucharistic Concelebration to mark the 350th anniversary of the Apostolic Vicariate of Siam.
In the afternoon he will meet the men and women religious, seminarians and catechists in the church dedicated to Blessed Father Nicolas Boonkerd Kitbamrung (1895-1944). Beatified by St. John Paul II in 2000, Fr. Nicolas died in prison, accused of espionage, at the end of a life dedicated totally to Christ and to the announcement of His Good News in the land.
On Sunday, 19 May, Card. Filoni will travel to Chiang Mai, in northern Thailand, where there is a strong presence of tribal populations, and will be welcomed by the Lanna and Akha ethnic groups. There, he will meet priests, religious, catechists and senior village leaders and will celebrate an evening Mass.
The following day, Monday, the cardinal will meet the Karen ethnic groups in the Mae-Porn missionary village and celebrate Mass for them.
On Tuesday, May 21, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples will visit the Church of St. Joseph and the Portuguese village, where the missionaries sowed the first seeds of the Good News in Ayuthaya, the then capital of the Kingdom of Siam, considered the birthplace of the Vicariate of Siam.
Card. Filoni will then visit the historic ruins of the ancient city, with important Catholic and Buddhist remains. (Source: Fides)