Thailand - Celebrating 50th anniversary of Catholic community "Ban Thap Christ"

25 July 2019

(ANS - Khlong Cha-un) - On Sunday, 21 July, the Salesian Msgr. Joseph Prathan Sridarunsil, SDB, bishop of the Diocese of Surat Thani, presided over the solemn Eucharist celebrating the 50th anniversary (1969 - 2019) of the Catholic community "Ban Thap Christ" - a Christian village in the municipality of Khlong Cha-un, district of Phanom, province of Surat Thani. The celebration took place in the parish dedicated to Mary Help of Christians, which - like the entire area - has always been under the pastoral care of the spiritual Sons of Don Bosco.

The Salesian mission is currently led by Salesian parish priest Fr Terry Tapay. Before the actual feast the inhabitants prepared for the anniversary through a community spiritual journey, for which the priests and religious present went to visit each family, and Mass was celebrated for groups. Then, on the morning of 21 July 2019, the Pastoral Council, in collaboration with the local authorities, the village chief and many volunteers, organized the "Thap Christ Mini-Marathon", which crossed the streets and alleys of the village, involving a total of over 1,600 people.

The history of this Christian village is intimately linked to the Salesian presence: since the Christian population in the area of Baan Saeng Arun was growing and there were not enough land for the younger generations, Msgr. Pietro Caretto, SDB, asked the government for an area of 500 acres located in the district of Phanom. The government accepted this request on December 29, 1969. The first group of Catholic faithful came from the church dedicated to Our Lady of Fatima to Saeng Arun, led by Fr Delfino Crespi, SDB, who celebrated the first mass in a small church of the new community on 23 January 1970.

With Fr Pietro Jellici, SDB, small bamboo houses were then built with cogon grass roof. In the 1970s, many other people began to populate the area, having an area of 5 acres per family. Life at the beginning was very hard: the locals had to build roads and bridges to connect to the main road, 17 km away, and to market their agricultural products.

But among difficulties and problems Fr Crespi inculcated a strong faith in God and a great devotion to Mary Help of Christians in the hearts of people.

"We thank God that allowed the Salesian missionaries to start and consolidate the foundations of this Catholic village," say the inhabitants of Ban Thap Christ today.


ANS - “Agenzia iNfo Salesiana” is a on-line almost daily publication, the communication agency of the Salesian Congregation enrolled in the Press Register of the Tibunal of Rome as n 153/2007.

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