Home SERRA Chiang Mai 2023 HOMILY: Welcome Eucharistic Celebration

HOMILY: Welcome Eucharistic Celebration

Bishop Francis Xavier Vira Arporndratana at the lectern of the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
Bishop Francis Xavier Vira Arporndratana, Bishop of Chiang Mai Diocese, Thailand, at the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, June 22, 2023. (Photo by Mark Saludes)


Today, we are inside the Sacred Heart of Jesus Cathedral which was established in the year 1931 that was 93 years ago. In these past days, we had continuous celebrations. Last Friday, we had just celebrated the Feast Day of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the following day –Saturday, there was an ordination of four priests: one is a Diocesan priest, two from the Sacred Heart of Jesus of Bétharram Congregation and one from the Missionaries of Identes. All four priests are from the Karen tribe.

I have always felt that here in Chiang Mai Diocese, we are one big FAMILY! The communities around us, the many religious congregations and the diocesan parishes spread out in four provinces and beyond. We are abundantly blessed with the three prestigious Catholic schools: Regina Coeli College, Montfort College and the Sacred Heart of Jesus College. All these realities composed this big FAMILY and they complement each other.

On the other hand, we are all aware of the plight of our neighbors. While here in Chiang Mai, we live in the peace of Christ, we have our brothers and sisters knocking at our front doors, seeking refuge. It may not be reported in the news, but recently, at the Mae Hong Son border between Myanmar-Thailand. The registered number of the refugees from the Diocese of Loikaw, there are around 4,000 Catholics and more than 1,400 Buddhists entered Thailand at St. Genoveva Parish. At present, they are in need of food, materials to make tent for shelter and toilettes. Last 20th June was World Refugee Day; this year is focused on the power of inclusion and solutions for refugees. We are invited to welcome and let them feel included, being at home away from home.

We are brothers and sisters in One God the Father in the same family as in the Gospel today. Jesus said that our Father knows what we need before we ask Him. May I ask who are fathers among you, present here today? Please raise your hands! Do you know what your daughter or son needs? I’m sure that our mother knows what we need before we ask her; because, a mother is closer to her children than a father. But God our Father would like us to pray, pray together so that we will realize His care for us. And yet, Jesus teaches us to pray…

Your Kingdom come… not my kingdom, but Jesus’ kingdom.
Your will be done… not my will, but Jesus’ will.
Give us TODAY our daily bread, both physical and spiritual food. Forgive us our sins, of yesterday or in the past.
And may the Holy Spirit lead us not into temptations tomorrow.

Dear brothers and sisters, thank you for coming to our diocese. Thank you for your continuous prayer and support for our young people that they may find their vocation and persevere to serve God’s people.

+ Francis Xavier Vira Arporndratana
Bishop of Chiang Mai Diocese, Thailand

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