June 2023 English News Summary
SERRA INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION
On June 22- 25, 2023, the 80th SERRA Int’l Convention was held in Chiang Mai city. Chiang Mai diocese was one of the main hosts of this event. More than 400 participants coming from all over the world and from Thailand were present and among the most distinguished guests are no other than their eminencies and excellences: Cardinal Marc Ouellet – Prefect Emeritus of the Dicastery for Bishops; Cardinal Charles Bo – President of Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences; Cardinal Kriengsak Kovithavanij –Archbishop of Bangkok; Archbishop Peter Bryan Wells – Apostolic Nuncio
to Thailand; Bishop Vira Arpondratana – Bishop of Chiang Mai; Bishop Panya Kritcharoen – Bishop of Ratchaburi and Bishop Joseph Vuthilert Haelom – Bishop of Chiang Rai. Chiang Mai diocese is honored and proud for having been given the chance to offer hospitality in full blast. Needless to say the success of the event was beyond expectations. The images will speak for itself and we thank God and everyone who had been a part of this event.
For more details please read on- https: //serra-chiangmai2023.licas.news
This year, the celebration of the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesusis quite special. On 16th-17th June; 2 full days of big events with the presence of H.E. Chusak Sirisut, bishop of the Nakhon Ratchasima Diocese who presided the first day. On the following day, more special and solemn was the ordination of four deacons: Deacon Paolo Vuthichai Korpaiboonthavorn from the Diocese of Chiang Mai; Deacon John Bosco Ruangdet Somboonpoonperm (M.Id)-Missionary of Identes; Deacon Peter Pichet Wijunwayu and Deacon Matthew Panupan Saichonsrichinda , both of the Sacred Heart of Jesus- Betharram. The ordination was presided by H.E. Bishop Francis Xavier Vira Arpondratana with H. E. Bishop JosephChusak Sirisut, of the Diocese of Nakhon Ratchasima and H. E. Joseph Vuthilert Haelom of the Diocese of Chiang Rai. Also participated in the ceremony was the General Superior of the Betharram priests and General Superior of the Missionaries of Identes as well as the Betharram priests attending their general assembly in Chiang Mai. Pastors from the Protestant churches
were also invited in the ordination ceremony, a large number of priests and the faithful from Chiang Mai diocese and the nearby provinces. It was a gathering of God’s people.
"HOPE AWAY FROM HOME”
Each year on 20 June, the world celebrates World Refugee Day, the international day to honor people who have been forced to flee. Pope Francis wrote, “In whatever place we decide to build our future, in the country of our birth or elsewhere, the important thing is that there
always be a community ready to welcome, protect, promote and integrate everyone, without distinctions and without excluding anyone,”
This Year, World Refugee Day promotes “Hope away from Home”. This motto is what we have been trying to practice with the refugees coming from our neighboring country – Myanmar; since the military junta have taken over the government 2 years ago. Refugees at the border of Thai Myanmar in Mae Hong son province keep on pouring as sporadic violence occurred. Recently, a surge of violent attacks had targeted Christians in the Loikaw Diocese and they have taken refuge in the nearby villages at the border. According to the report of Social Development Committee of Chiang Mai Diocese, there are 5,420 people who needed shelter, clothing and food. Many have already sent help and the appeal is continuing to all people to generously contribute to the basic needs of our brothers and sisters- for we are all God’s children.
THAI MONKS TO ASSISI AND THE VATICAN CITY
The Vatican news on June 15, 2023 wrote; “Thai Buddhists reaffirm friendship and fraternity with Catholic Church”. From June 11th -16th 2023, a delegation of Buddhist monks from Thailand was accompanied by Father Daniel Massa (PIME), H. E. Francis Xavier Vira A. of
Chiang Mai diocese and Fr. Suwat L. They travelled to Assisi and visited the Basilica of Saint Francis and the church dedicated to Saint Claire. The Mayor of Assisi welcomed them and together prayed for PEACE with the bishops, priests and lay people. Going back to Rome they visited the Vatican City.
They were welcomed by members of the Dicastery for Interreligious Dialogue, including Cardinal Miguel Angel Ayuso, Prefect of the Dicastery. The meeting between the two was opened with a prayer for peace and they talked about the religious relations between the two countries. They wrote a letter to Pope Francis who was recovering in the hospital at that time and also visited the tomb of Pope Benedict XVI.
INTERNATIONAL CATHOLIC CENTER
The International Catholic Youth Center at Chomthong, Chiangmai had a blessing ceremony last 4th June 2023. It was attended by the International Movement of Catholic Students – Pax Romana coordinator- Dr. Fr. JoJo Fung SJ; Brother Anurak Nithiphatraphorn of Saint Gabriel Foundation- the director of the center and H.E. Bishop Francis Xavier Vira A. who officiated opening Eucharistic celebration and blessing of the Holy Trinity Chapel and the different buildings. The event began with a program in the morning that consist of musical
performances, discussions on “The Minds of The Youth” “Education” and Equality”; by 14 youth from 7 institutions. H.E. Bishop F.X. Vira A. and the IMCS delegate also shared their views. After the blessing, it was followed by a meal together. The event was attended by the youth from Baan Thidarak, Maepon Sisters from Hmong Center and the village communities.
PRIESTS OF THE SACRED HEART OF JESUS-BETHARRAM GENERAL ASSEMBLY, CHIANG MAI
The Priests of the Sacred Heart of Jesus – Betharam was founded by a French priest St. Michael Garicoits, about 200 years ago when he saw the social conditions of France. He saw a deterioration of the faith of the villagers and many clergies rarely obeyed the bishop. He founded the congregation to help preach the Good News. After the change of Chinese rule in 1951, the SCJ- Betharram missionaries were expelled from China and they came to Thailand. They have been working in Chiang Mai for more than 70 years. The congregation held their 28th General Assembly on June 9 – 29, 2023 at Seven Fountains Retreat House of Chiang Mai. An opening mass was held with H. E. Bishop Francis Xavier Vira A. They came from 15 countries, 2-3 representatives from each country, totaling 40 people. During the ceremony, the 25 seminarians from the Betharram Seminary of Thailand participated in the holy Mass, helped in the choir and liturgy. It was a historical event and an honor to have the general assembly participate at the Sacred Heart of Jesus Celebration and during ordination ceremony on June 17th. There were representatives from 15 countries of SCJ Betharram priests who participated in the ordination.
OPENING MASS FOR THE NEW ACADEMIC YEAR OF THE NORTHERN CATHOLIC STUDENTS NETWORK
An opening mass for the academic year 2023-2024 was held last June 20, 2023 at the 7 Fountain Church attended by around 40 students coming from several groups of 7 Fountains,and universities: MMK Univ., Chiang Mai University and Rajaphat University. The main celebrant was Fr. Thinnakorn Latoo. Projects for the year were among the other things discussed