.- Archbishop Paul Tschang In-Nam, the Apostolic Nuncio to Thailand, encouraged a large gathering of Thai Catholics to renew their lives during the Year of Faith.
“Faith is a gift of God,” Archbishop Tschang In-Nam said July 21. “Faith in Christ brings salvation.”
The nuncio said God’s call is fully revealed in Jesus and this love “transforms and changes us from within.”
He spoke about the Year of Faith, a special celebration of the Catholic Church lasting until Advent 2013. He said the year is an opportune “time for renewal.”
The archbishop spoke at the conclusion of the three-day Year of Faith celebrations organized by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Thailand. The celebrations took place July 19-21 at St. Joseph’s Upatham School in the Sam Phran district of Thailand’s west-central Nakhon Pathom Province.
Participants in the event included local bishops, various other bishops from India, Pakistan and Philippines, 200 priests and vowed religious, and 6,000 lay people.
Sixteen new deacons from various dioceses of Thailand were ordained during a Mass at the event.
Archbishop Tschang In-Nam thanked parents and rectors for giving the Church deacons, saying the deacons would be future priests, bishops, cardinals and, perhaps, a future Pope.
The nuncio also had a special exhortation for priests, telling them “perceive your vocations.” He noted that priests make promises to the Church to be “faithful” to their priestly vocations.
He urged prayers for priestly vocations. He said Catholics should pray that God “open our hearts to faith” so that they may become “light and salt of the earth.”
The archbishop is also Apostolic Nuncio to Cambodia and Apostolic Delegate to Myanmar and Laos
Father Joseph Virot Lertthanogsak of the Diocese of Surat Thani appreciated the nuncio’s words.
“The nuncio’s encouragement to be faithful in priesthood touched me deeply and it’s motivating,” the priest told CNA.
There are only a few hundred thousand Catholics across ten dioceses in Thailand, a country of over 69 million people.