World Mission Day in the small Church of Thailand (0.46% of the population) celebrates the sending abroad of its first ten missionaries. They will work among the needy of the poorest countries of Asia. Thai Bishop: "It is wonderful to see that we too are begining to leave our country to proclaim the Good News”.

Bangkok (AsiaNews) - Although the Thai Church is only a small minority of the country (0.46%), it is already beginning to send its missionaries abroad. Sunday, October 18th World Mission Day, in the church dedicated to Mary Mother of Mercy (Nonthaburi, a suburb of Bangkok) the departure of 7 priests and 3 nuns who soon will leave for the missions, was celebrated.

Five of them are bound for Cambodia to work in an orphanage and as catechists among the people of Phnom Penh. A priest will go to the city of Chaeng Kong, on the border with Laos, where he will help in the formation of some Christians, who for years have been without pastoral care. 4 more sisters, finally, will be sent to northern Thailand among the tribes of Akha, Lahu and Hmong to follow the children of some poor families in the diocese of Chiang Mai.

During his homily, Msgr. Louis Chamnian Santisukniran, President of the Episcopal Conference of Thailand said that "mission is the duty of all Christians. The Lord has need of our feet, our eyes, our mouths to proclaim His Good News today. We must be as bridges that allow the Lord to reach our brothers and our sisters and to ensure that they can make their way to the Lord".

After the Mass, Msgr. John Bosco Panya Kritcharoen, Bishop of Rachaburi, shared his great joy in seeing the departing missionaries. Despite the fact that the Thai Church is a small seed (only 0.46% of total population) “it is wonderful to see - he said - that we are beginning to goforth from our country to proclaim the Good News. This is a great grace of the Lord".

The departing missionaries, who come from various religious orders and dioceses of Thailand, are all part of "Thai Mission Society”. This institute has been promoted by the bishops in Thailand since 1987 and now expects to be officially and legally recognized by the Diocese of Bangkok as an institute with diocesan rights. It currently counts 26 members, 12 priests and 14 nuns.