By THA SC
Bangkok, Thailand, 11 February 2023 -- At at Mary Help of Christians Church in Bangkok, the installation ceremony of Fr. Anthony Boonlert Paneetatthayasai as Superior of the Salesian Province of Thailand, Cambodia and Laos (THA) for the six-year period 2023-2029 was celebrated on 11 February. The Eucharist was presided over by Bishop Joseph Prathan Sridarunsil, SDB, Bishop of Suratthani Diocese, with Fr. Andrew Wong representing the Rector Major of the Salesians, Fr. Ángel Fernández Artime.
During the homily, Bishop Prathan quoted Father Egidio Viganò, who said when he succeeded Father Luigi Ricceri as Rector Major, that the change of position is like a "relay sports event". One of the athletes carries the "baton" to the other athlete to hold on up to the finish line. "The baton" is the Salesian spirit. The provincial in each province is responsible for leading the members to the finish line. In the Salesian Province of Thailand today, we are joining in the relay passing ceremony whereby Father Dheparat Pitisant, after running for 6 years in his second term of office, is now passing the baton to Father Anthony Boonlert Paneetatthayasai, an energetic young man, to continue to carry on.
Bishop Prathan also thanked Fr. John Bosco Dheparat Pitisant, former THA Provincial, for his six years of dedicated service. At the same time, he encouraged Fr. Boonlert to receive the 'baton' and continue to run.
And from the gospel reading of the multiplication of bread and fish, Jesus needed the participation of the people and from the little things there were. The Lord blessed and multiplied enough to feed many people. Today we would like to invite us to cooperate with our new provincial, willing to use the talents that God has bestowed upon us in the generous service of our congregation, no matter how insignificant and small these talents may be. The Lord can always multiply to meet the needs.
At the end of the Eucharist, after presenting the garland in thanksgiving to the Bishop and all the superiors, gratitude was also related to Fr. Dheparat. From then, Fr. Boonlert expressed himself: "I accepted this duty to serve the congregation and all the confreres. I wish that all of us will help each other so that our mission will improve and serve God, the Church and society worthily. May all feel comfortable to approach and talk with me. I am ready to listen and I will try to do everything for the good of the province."
The Salesians started the mission in Thailand on August 1927. On 2027, the Salesians in Thailand will celebrate its centenary of foundation. At present there are 109 confreres. There are 106 professed Salesians and 2 novices living and working in 16 communities: 13 in Thailand, 2 in Cambodia and one in Laos. There are 69 Salesian priests, 17 Salesian brothers, 14 candidates to the priesthood (4 students of theology, 6 practical trainees and 15 postnovices). In three aspirantates, there are 71 students and in the Salesian Seminary in Canlubang, Philippines, there are 4 prenovices.
The Salesian Family of Thailand-Cambodia-Laos (THA) Province is very large: composed of SDBs, FMAs, VDBs, Salesian Cooperators, Don Bosco and MHC Alumni and ADMA. There are also three SF groups born in Thailand: DQM secular institute (The Daugthers of the Queenship of Mary), SQM (The Sisters of the Queenship of Mary Immaculate) and SIHM (Sisters Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary).
We pray that the Salesians and the members of the Salesian family live according to the spirit of Don Bosco and continue to be signs and bearers of God's love for the poor and abandoned youth in the Thai province.
Installation of the New Provincial of Thailand Province
His Excellency Monsignor Joseph Prathan, dear Fr. Dheparat, Fr. Boonlert, members of the Provincial Council, beloved Rectors and confreres, members of the Salesian Family, beloved young people, friends,
I am here to represent the Rector Major who desires to be certainly present in this important event of a Salesian province. He kindly requested me through our regional Fr. Joseph Phuoc to fulfill his desire since he is unable to come here personally for the installation of the new provincial.
I wish to greet first of all Fr. Dheparat and to say a very big THANK YOU. Fr. Dheparat is one of the few Father Provincials in the congregation who was asked to do a second term as Provincial. We used to call these Provincials “recycled” and in particular Fr. Dheparat as the ever-smiling Provincial. And certainly Fr. Dheparat has completed with satisfactory marks his second mandate as provincial. The congregation surely acknowledges his merit and sacrifices as the leader of this province.
I wish Fr. Boonlert also a big THANK YOU for first accepting to take up this important responsibility as the new superior of the Thailand Salesian province. It is a position of authority and responsibility. Every position at any level in the congregation always brings with it the cross of service and of love. However time and experience will express to you Fr. Provincial that even such a responsibility is a big Grace of God Almighty for you personally.
The Congregation is not just any human corporation or group. We all walk in faith in the providence of the Lord God. We are His instruments to continue God’s mission of salvation in so many varied ways. God always accompanies with His graces the persons He ask to do His work especially in the particular role of leadership of a congregation.
Best wishes to both of you Fr. Dheparat and Fr. Boonlert from the Rector Major and from the members of the General Council. They wish and pray that all of you beloved confreres and members of the Salesian Family be united in heart and soul in thanking God for the new Provincial and in resolving to support him with your prayers and collaboration.