By Vatican News
Pope Francis has now concluded the first leg of his Apostolic visit to Thailand and is now in Japan.
Over the last few days the Pope encouraged the youth of the country, spoke of the scourge of human trafficking, and urged Catholic’s in Thailand to live their faith as missionary disciples.
Reflecting on Pope Francis’ visit to the country, Archbishop Louis Chamniern Santisukniran said that the Pope is the “the bridge between our religion and other religions, our culture and other cultures. So, we have to continue our work, to be friends, to be brothers and sisters.”
During his visit to Thailand, Pope Francis invited priests and religious in the country to be true missionaries and evangelizers.
Asked by Vatican News’ Marie Duhamel how this can be undertaken, especially when the Catholic population in the country is so small, the Archbishop noted that it is the Bishop’s job to ask all the priests to be missionaries and go out and visit families.
This, he said “should not be done just occasionally but every day. “I have 75 priests and I told them every day for hour you have to be with people…” He added, “we have to listen more than before, not only to Catholics, but also to Buddhists.”
Archbishop Santisukniran acknowledged that this at times can be difficult, especially in an age where children watch television and are glued to their mobile phones. But he said, young people, just like the Pope said, need to be accompanied.
Recalling the Pope’s words on the scourge of human trafficking, the Archbishop said the situation is very bad in Thailand, adding, that it needs to be combatted in a spirit of co-operation, with the Church playing its part.
“We are here (as a Church) to make people love God better", he said. The Archbishop continued by saying, that they are also there to help the poor and downtrodden and those scarred by sexual abuse.
“Redemption or salvation is the first purpose of our mission, and we have to continue with a stronger intention”, he said.