Year of Evangelization Takes Off in Thailand

BANGKOK, Thailand, OCT. 27, 2005 (<a> The World Day for Missions held last Sunday marked the opening in Thailand of the Year of Evangelization.

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In a pastoral letter marking the start of this evangelizing event, Thai Catholics were invited to be ever more «aware of the importance of the Gospel and to be concrete witnesses of Jesus every day.» Catholics number about 300,000 in a country of 65 million, mostly Buddhists.

The letter is signed by Cardinal Michael Kitbunchu, archbishop of Bangkok and president of the bishops’ conference, and Archbishop Louis Santisukniran of Thare and Nonseng, president of the episcopate’s Commission for Mission and Catholic Education.

The document was read Sunday in Thai parishes, reported AsiaNews.

In their letter, the prelates quoted from Pope John Paul II’s apostolic exhortation «Ecclesia in Asia.»

It said: «[A]s in the first millennium the cross was planted in Europe, and in the second millennium in America and Africa, so the cross for the third millennium should … bear abundant fruit in this continent so vast and with so much vitality.»

The pastoral letter mentions the Asian Mission Congress, scheduled for next Oct. 19-22, the end of the Year of Evangelization. The congress will be held in Bangkok.

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