Bangkok (Thailand). On 29 January 2023, a Prayer Celebration for the Unity of the Christian Churches was held at Mary Most Holy Queen of Peace Church in Bangkok, organized by the presidents and representatives of the five Christian Churches approved by the Thai government: Catholic, Protestant, Evangelical, Baptist, and Seventh Day Adventist.
The Celebration was presided over by Msgr. Joseph Chusak Sirisut, President of the Thai Episcopal Conference and Head of the Catholic Commission for Interreligious-Ecumenical Dialogue; the preaching was entrusted to Dr. Prasatphong Pansuey, representative of the Protestant Church.
Among the faithful, gathered with the heads of the five Christian Churches, there were also two Daughters of Mary Help of Christians from St. Mary Mazzarello Province (THA), Sr. Vanida Malawan and Sr. Anna Grassi. Also present was Mr. Chaiyaphon Sukiam, Director General of the Department of Religious Affairs.
This moment was at the culmination of the initiatives for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, from 18-25 January 2023, lived by the Churches according to the methods and aids prepared by the International Ecumenical Commission and disseminated online to the local Churches.
In the two meetings in preparation for the Celebration, the Thai Ecumenical Commission reflected on the theme and content of the text, translated into Thai, prepared the materials, and planned the logistics of the event.
To favor the presence of the largest number of faithful, expected to be at least 600 people, Sunday 29 January was chosen. On this festive day, the parish dedicated to “Mary Most Holy Queen of Peace” welcomed for the first time the faithful of various Christian denominations.
The prayer ritual took place in thirteen moments, of which the main ones were:
– the introduction with the motivation, intention of the Celebration, and the meaning of the theme “Learn to do good, seek justice” proposed by the Natives of Minnesota;
– the characteristic gesture with the sound of the gong, by the heads of the Churches and the Minister;
– reading and listening to the Word of God according to the proposed passages and the corresponding responsorial songs, with the participation of the students’ choir of the Sisters of St. Paul de Charte;
– the penitential moment, with their own prayer and lighting of the Paschal Candle by the heads of the 5 Churches;
– preaching, through which the importance of taking on the theme was highlighted;
– the intercessions of the faithful, with the alternation of representatives of the Churches;
– the proposal of the monetary offering for the realization of the promotional projects that the members of the Christian Women’s Association plan to carry out within the year, with prior information on the purpose by the President;
At the end of the celebration, Msgr. Joseph Chusak gave his blessing to all the faithful, and continued the greeting with the gift to the Director General of the Religious Affairs Department, the five heads of the Churches, and the parish priest
Upon leaving, a small refreshment for everyone and the gift of a souvenir and the text of the prayer were an opportunity for further discussion and sharing between the members of the different Churches.