On 11 August, the Idente missionaries were gladly surprised with a call from the diocese, anouncing the visit of the Bishop of Chiang Mai to our Idente Mission in the Pastoral Center in Saraphee, in which he would also celebrate the Sunday Mass. The Bishop also wanted to know the place in which we are planning to build a church.
We informed the people about this pastoral visit, with little hope that they would come for the mass on that day as it was the mother’s day celebration in Thailand, and following the custom, they would go to visit their mothers, many of them traveling to the mountain areas.
On 12th Sunday the Holy mass started punctually, concelebrated by th Idente missionaries Francisco Sánchez and Thinnakorn Latoo. With few persons in the beginning, they arrived progressively and the Chapel was full soon, with people standing outside the chapel too.
The bishop gave a very simple and clear homily. He celebrated the silver jubilee of his priestly ordination on the previous day, which he also mentioned. He talked about the importance of vocation and the mission needs and also expressed his concern for the youth, threatened by drug and consumerism. Commenting on the readings, he cited the example of Elijah who was fed by God in the desert, he pointed out the need to nourish our life with the Eucharist. Therefore, having more vocations is very important.
At the end of the Holy Mass we thanked the bishop on behalf of all the faithful and in the name of all the Idente Missionaries. As always, people stayed back after the mass to share some tea and snacks and the bishop too joined them and spoke to the people very kindly, listening to them carefully.
Later the bishop was delighted to hear that our brother Fr. Tanongsak had gone to Wiang Pa Pao to celebrate mass and thanked us for all the service we are doing there for the people. Afterwards, we showed him the place where we are planning to build a new church. He expressed his desire for us to build the church next year, as it is the 350th anniversary of the evangelization of Thailand. We gave our consent, but also expressed our concern for the economic resources, since we still have not enough funds to start the construction.
The bishop told us that he expects a simple church, as it is very important to the people to have a church and said that he will be writing a pastoral letter to all the faithful of the diocese, asking their collaboration and contribution, with the hope to build the church with the collaboration of all.
Once again the bishop expressed his concern for many youth who are wasting their time and energy, falling in the temptation of drugs. When the missionaries informed him that we also have a project to make a play ground and sports area, he was glad with the idea, since there are not many places like that around, which are great for youth apostolate.
Before leaving the community, the bishop accepted to preside the death anniversary Mass of our founding father Fernando Rielo on December, 6th.
In his great generosity, while driving back to his residence in Chiang Mai, he offered the missionaries to use his car in case of necessity.