UCA News

Relics of Saints John XXIII, John Paul II tour Thailand

Reliquaries 'light the fire of faith and hope', says bishop
Relics of Saints John XXIII, John Paul II tour Thailand

Students venerate the relics of St John XXIII and St John Paul II in Sriracha, Thailand, earlier this month (Credit: Antonio Anup Gonsalves/CNA)

Published: May 25, 2015 04:09 AM GMT
Updated: May 24, 2015 05:09 PM GMT

Scores of Catholic faithful are taking part in the Thailand tour of the sacred relics of St John XXIII and St John Paul II.

“The visit of the relic is a blessing of God for us in our dioceses as the saints are visiting us and they light the fire of faith and hope,” said Bishop Silvio Siripong Charatsri of the Chanthaburi diocese on May 18.

The reliquaries of St John XXIII and St John Paul II have been brought to various dioceses’ parishes for over a year, with stops scheduled in ten Thai dioceses.

The reliquaries’ latest stop is the Sacred Heart Church Chapel in the Chanthaburi diocese. The reliquary tour makes the relics available for exposition and veneration.

Bishop Silvio said Thailand’s Catholics are “very happy to welcome the saints, for we are part of the universal Church, and the popes, who lived with us, are now in heaven to intercede for us and empower our people with their exemplary teachings of faith and life.”

Father Francis Xavier Manokprechawut, the parish priest, presided over a thanksgiving Mass with a congregation of over 600 faithful, including over 20 priests, religious, and seminarians.

The Mass concelebrants included Bishop Silvio and Bishop emeritus Lawrence Thienchai Samanchit of Chanthaburi.

The May 18 Mass also marked the birthday of St John Paul II.

Bishop Silvio discussed Catholics’ close connection to the two canonized popes.

He said St John XXIII “gave a new dimension to church renewal” by calling the Second Vatican Council, and that St John Paul II, during his long pontificate, “led the vision of the Church” and held “extensive apostolic visits.”

Bishop Siripong noted the eagerness of the Thai people, who participated with devotion in the liturgy to venerate and ask the intercession of the popular saints.

“Only a few people have the opportunity to visit Rome and see the Vatican and the popes, so the relics of the popes visiting their parishes is like the pope himself who is coming to visit them,” he said.

“They can touch them … it’s the Bishop of Rome, the Vicar of Christ, the leader of the Church who is coming to meet and bless his people.”

The silver- and gold-plated reliquary of Saint John XXIII contains a small piece of his skin. The relic of St John Paul II is a vial of his blood, set in a similar reliquary. Pope Francis canonized the two popes on April 27, 2014.

Thai Catholics also have a special regard for St John XXIII and St John Paul II because of their meetings with the reigning monarch, Bhumibol Adulyadej, and the rest of the royal family. The royals’ photographs adorn the walls of most houses and institutions as a sign of the people’s great respect and admiration.

St John XXIII received Thailand’s king and queen at the Vatican on October 1, 1960. St John Paul II met the king on May 10, 1984 during his apostolic visit to Thailand.

In May 2014, Archbishop emeritus of Bangkok, Cardinal Michael Michai Kitboonchu and bishops of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Thailand attended a special audience granted by the king. The bishops brought the two relics of Saint John XXIII and Saint John Paul II to the monarchs, in order to pray for the good health of the royal couple.

Original story: Relics of Saints John XXIII, John Paul II light fires of faith in Thailand

Source:Catholic News Agency

Help UCA News to be independent
Dear reader,
Trafficking is one of the largest criminal industries in the world, only outdone by drugs and arms trafficking, and is the fastest-growing crime today.
Victims come from every continent and are trafficked within and to every continent. Asia is notorious as a hotbed of trafficking.
In this series, UCA News introduces our readers to this problem, its victims, and the efforts of those who shine the light of the Gospel on what the Vatican calls “these varied and brutal denials of human dignity.”
Help us with your donations to bring such stories of faith that make a difference in the Church and society.
A small contribution of US$5 will support us continue our mission…
William J. Grimm
UCA News
Asian Bishops
Latest News
UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia
UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia
UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia