By THA SC
Bangkok, Thailand, 8 December 2022 -- On 5 December 2022, Bishop Joseph Prathan Sridarunsil, SDB, was the main celebrant in the celebration of the Holy Eucharist on the occasion of 50 years of priestly life of Fr. Francis Cais and 25 years of Fr. Camillus Chinnawat Suvadinkul at St. John Bosco Church - Bangkok in the midst of the Salesian confreres, members of the Salesian Family, diocesan priests, religious groups and faithful, closely numbering 700 people in all.
Father Francis Cais
Fr. Francis Cais is an Italian missionary who came to Thailand on 24 October 1960. At that time he was only 18 years old. He entered the novitiate and made his first religious profession in Huahin. This was followed by studies in philosophy in Huahin and also in Hong Kong. He studied theology for one year at the Salesian University in Rome. His theological studies continued for three years in Turin. On 25 March 1972, he was ordained priest together with 30 others at the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians by H.E. Cardinal Michele Pellegrino, the Archbishop of Turin.
Most of the assignments that he received since the beginning until the present is being a professor. He taught dogmatic theology and scriptures to the seminarians and religious in the formation houses, including at the national seminary of Saeng Tham College and at the Salesian Formation House itself.
Aside from these, he was also appointed to the secretariat of the Theological Commission of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Thailand ; he was also a member of the Theological Commission of the Federation of Asian Bishops Conferences . Another important function that he had contributed to the church of Thailand was being one of the translators and an editorial member of the complete Catholic Thai version of the Bible which took 23 years of hard work together with other experts. This Bible was finally published in 2014 and is widely used at present.
As a professor, Fr. Cais made every effort to pass his knowledge to others because to him every knowledge comes from God and has to be shared with others. When asked about how happy he is in being a Salesian priest, he answered candidly "when I was ordained a priest, I chose as my motto the words of Jesus that said "just as the Father has sent me, so I will send you" [Jn 20,21]...this is the source of my happiness as a Salesian priest."
Fr. Camillus Chinawat Suvadinkul
"Being a faithful member of St. Joseph Church - Banpong, and having studied at Sarasit Phithayalai School which was under the Salesians, this allowed me to know St. John Bosco and subconsciously absorbed the Salesian spirit. The presence of the olderaspirants at the Salesian seminary lit in me the desire to enter the seminary. So at the end of my elementary years at Sarasit School - Banpong, I applied to enter the Salesian seminary which at that time was in St. Dominic School - Bangkok. I underwent the initial formation and was ordained priest on 14 June 1997 at my home parish."
Fr. Chinawat was the first Salesian Thai missionary to Cambodia [1998-2005]. "Being a missionary to Cambodia is one I am proud of. The first 7 years of my priestly life lived in Cambodia made me realize that being a Salesian is to be all for the young; whatever I had not known, I slowly knew; whatever I had not done, I slowly had to do. These experiences made me understand the phrase 'Salesian for the young'...whether happy or sad, whether full or hungry, all these will happen, whatever can happen - all for the young. These made my Salesian life meaningful. For me, the seven years in Cambodia were very valuable. "
Aside from this, Fr. Chinawat received the responsibility to be the chaplain of the Scouts in the Asia-Pacific Region and of the Association of Rattanakosin Scouts - Thailand.
We thank God for the blessing of the Salesian vocation and the missionary vocation of these confreres. Let us pray to God to inspire the youth to bravely respond to God's call so that they can help the souls of the poor and abandoned youth.