Thai Catholics encouraged to imitate Virgin Mary's faith life

Mass at Assumption Cathedral Bangkok 2013  Credit Antonio Gonsalves CNA World Catholic News 8 16 13 Mass at Assumption Cathedral in Bangkok 2013. | Antonio Gonsalves/CNA.

Mary is a perfect model for Christians, who should imitate their Blessed Mother and learn from her, said a Thai bishop on the feast of the Assumption of Mary in Bangkok. 

The Thai faithful have a very strong devotion to Mother Mary, and she is invoked as the patroness of Thailand and especially of the Archdioceses of Bangkok, Archbishop Francis Xavier Kriengsak Kovithavanij told CNA.

Bishops, priests, religious and more than 2,000 lay Catholics gathered in Bangkok to celebrate the solemnity on Aug 15.

In his homily, Archbishop Kovithavanij described how Catholics understand the relationship of Mary with humanity, along with all of the saints who intercede for the living.

He noted that sometimes, these devotions are practiced simply because people have become accustomed to seeking graces through Mary.

"But this type of pious devotion is not enough," the archbishop stressed. "We should rise above this to a higher level of faith life."

Liturgy, prayers, sacraments and pious popular devotions are important for enhancing our Christian faith life, he said.

Archbishop Kovithavanij illustrated a two-point method to be "adopted and to be actuated" into daily life, referencing the Second Vatican Council.

First, he explained, is "to believe and accept," like the Virgin Mary, "acknowledging" the annunciation communicated by the angel Gabriel. Second is "to live a life of love and charity," just as Mary went to visit her cousin, Elizabeth.

The feast of the Assumption is particularly meaningful for Archbishop Kovithavanij, who was installed as leader of the archdiocese of Bangkok on the feast day in 2009.

Also participating in the Assumption Mass was Monsignor Andrew Vissanu Thanya Anan, deputy secretary general for the Thai bishops' conference and former Vatican undersecretary for the Pontifical Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue with various national commissions.

The Mass took place at Bangkok's Assumption Cathedral.

Father Joseph Vuthilert, vicar general for the Archdiocese of Bangkok, told CNA that the cathedral is an 18th century monument that underwent major "restructuration" in early 19th century.

But now, he said, the cathedral again needs restoration, and work has already begun.

The architecture of the cathedral has a French-Romanesque style, with stained windows capturing Christian sacred art.

Blessed Pope John Paul II visited the cathedral during his 1984 Apostolic visit to Thailand.

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