.- Several thousand children and teens in Thailand marked the Catholic Church’s Year of Faith by attending a special faith formation workshop.
Bishop Joseph Chusak Sirisut of northeast Thailand’s Diocese of Nakhon Ratchasima encouraged the youths to “believe and bear witness to faith… put your trust in God.”
“He is with us until the end of the age,” the bishop said during his homily at a conference Mass.
Over 3,000 people attended the workshop, whose theme was “One Lord, One Faith.” The workshop was organized by the Catholic Bishops Conference of Thailand.
The workshop took place at Blessed John Paul II Auditorium at St. Joseph’s Upatham School in the Sam Phran district of Thailand’s west-central Nakhon Pathom Province July 19-20.
Bishop Sirisut, the secretary general of the bishops’ conference, based his homily on the reading from Isaiah 61. That reading explained the “mission of the Messiah,” when the Spirit of the Lord anointed Isaiah to preach the “good news” and to “set the captives free.”
The bishop interpreted the mission of Christ and its relation to the present day. He said that for Christians, “being with Christ liberates us and sets us free.”
The workshop was divided into several sections on topics like the life of apostles, question and answers, catechesis, biblical representations, group discussions, and the symbols of faith.
Father Joseph Vuthilert, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Bangkok, told CNA the gathering was an important phase to build the church community in a way that is “predicated” on faith. The event explored Christian traditions according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, he said.
Fr. Somkait Trinikorn, Professor of Biblical studies at Thailand’s Lux Mundi Seminary, noted that the Catholic Church is in the minority in the pluralistic emerging cultures of Thailand. He said the Church seeks to dialogue with life during the Year of Faith, a special observance that will end in Advent 2013.
The priest said the Year of Faith observance “calls us for renewal and focuses our eyes on Christ.”
He also had practical recommendations for spiritual renewal.
“To enliven our spirituality of faith and life it is important to have a close bond with the Word of God, the Eucharist and prayer,” he said,
There are only a few hundred thousand Catholics across ten dioceses in Thailand, a country of over 69 million people.