‘Listening to the poor, our daily synod in Bangkok’

A Christmas letter from a PIME missionary in the slums of the far periphery of the metropolis

Jan 03, 2022

P. Adriano Pelosin, PIME (Photo by AsiaNews)

Father Adriano Pelosin

“Participation, Communion and Mission”, the theme of the Synod, is lived in the daily life of our community. The requests of the poorest are always heard and answered in the name of God who grants us the grace to do this service ”, declared Father Adriano Pelosin, PIME missionary in Thailand for more than 40 years, and today also superior of the local Thai community. missionary institute. In his annual Christmas Letter, he recounts the life of Saint Mark’s parish in Pathumthani, among the slums on the outskirts of Bangkok, severely affected by the pandemic. Yet he tells us that even this crisis has been an opportunity for many young people to discover “an Other greater than us”. (This is reposted from AsiaNews)

Last year we celebrated Christmas in silence but not without meaning, as we did on the first Christmas in the stable in Bethlehem; only the angels and a few shepherds participate in the joy of Mary and Joseph for the newborn. The situation has remained the same here in Thailand and has worsened since April giving signs of improvement in recent days: you will understand that we are talking about Covid 19.

In prayer, in silence, in the service of others, we also live Christmas every day and like Mary we show Jesus to the poor and the wise. Despite the official closure of churches, the poor come to our church which still has its doors open. Our hearts are always close to the hearts of so many who, for various reasons, suffer and sometimes border on despair and suicide.

So many people here in Thailand and also in Italy are helping to bring smiles to the lips and light to the eyes of those affected by Covid 19. We must thank the Lord for choosing us to provide this material, moral and spiritual help. to about 500 (five hundred) families. About 100 families are Cambodians, Burmese, Laotians in the construction sites, and about 100 families are Vietnamese who worked in the factories. Jobs were closed and the money was gone. The other 300 families live in the slums around our St. Mark’s Church. As always, we favor abandoned elderly people, orphaned or abandoned children who live with poor and sick grandparents.

In St. Mark’s Parish we have 14 lay missionaries who work full time to help the poorest in Buddhist communities. There are also some parishioners who devote their free time to this mission. “Participation, communion and mission”; the theme of the Synod is lived in our community. The requests of the poorest are always heard and answered in the name of God who gives us the grace to do this service.

We live communion especially in the morning when we sing lauds with a dozen young people who live in the parish, then we participate in the divine liturgy where we listen to the word of God read and preached and together receive the same body of Our Lord. We then continue the sharing by briefly discussing the work to be done that day and then we have lunch together. We are about thirty, young and old. Everyone does their work and in the evening we meet for the Office of Readings, Vespers and dinner.

After breakfast and cleaning the rooms, two lay missionaries (Nok and Chat) picked up a small group of children from the “Condo” slum to take them to the parish to study “online”. A lay missionary (Toy) takes three-year-old New Moses and Paul (abandoned children we have welcomed into the ward) to Wat Sake where Paul’s twin brother John is in kindergarten with missionary Keng.

Two other lay missionaries (Pon and Su) go to a construction site to educate children of Cambodians and Burmese who otherwise would not go to school. Laki and Pim help the children (But, Pong, Bun. Pan, Te, Big, Pale, Spai, Tengmo) who reside in the parish to take online courses, while Deacon Tii and Tum teach the young people (Ben, Katin , Pon, all orphans) who have stopped going to school and are preparing them for state exams. Fon follows the Catholic center of Lat Lum Kew opened two years ago to help the poor in the slum. Four adolescent girls without families (Muk, Fern, Hai, Chanchai) also live there.

Mr. Prasit, who is 50, follows the slums near the church and every afternoon and evening he brings food to some groups. Here we pay special attention to children and young people who, if not taken care of from an early age, will be ruined too soon and will then become irrecoverable. Prasit is well assisted by Mr. Paolo Lorenzi, a volunteer from Trento. Ot is a Vietnamese lay missionary who oversees the work of the garden where we produce vegetables, bananas and other fruits for ourselves and for the poor. Ot also serves as a dad to three-year-old New Moses.

Then there are others who are not official missionaries but are an integral part of our community; the Pai cook who prepares three hot meals a day for all of us and also for the guests who reach a hundred on Sunday. Bunma, the cook’s husband, is the factotum of the parish complex, Pen who takes care of the animals: sheep, goats, ducks, geese, rabbits, fish and chickens and also another vegetable garden, Mak and Chalong are two men who are mentally remained like children but are always ready to help, Chup and Kof are two aspirants to become missionary priests who help mainly in the distribution of food and milk to about three hundred Pakistani refugee families and in the work of the vegetable gardens and of maintenance of the parish complex.

Then there is I who thank the Lord every day for his help, guidance and love. I ask God that in my old age I do not make too serious mistakes and that I be more and more worthy of the mission that He has called me to do, always keeping in mind that every event is a blessing for those who love God and be loved by Him. This is how we interpreted the will of God in Covid 19.

Covid 19 has put us in contact with many people, especially young people whom we did not know before. Some of them have understood that our interest in them, our charity, does not come from us, but from an Other greater than us and they willingly come to the Church to meet and thank him. So on Sunday we pick up a hundred people, mostly young people, and bring them to church for breakfast, mass, charity activities, lunch, games and sharing the word in a family ; some even stay for dinner. Lay missionaries and Catholic volunteers are involved in these activities. When Covid has passed, we will also begin teaching catechism for preparation for baptism.

We ask God to give us the patience that we cannot do everything we were doing because of Covid; develop other more sincere ways of being together and of collaborating together for mutual technical, moral and spiritual development.

There would be so much more to tell, but I see my teeth are long, so I will close by sincerely wishing you a Merry Christmas. God being born man to make us love God, how great it is! Great for us and also for many others who do not yet know this truth.–LiCAS.News

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