Thailand: Parishes offer support to people affected by Covid-19 economic downturn

Many parishes of the Archdiocese of Bangkok, Thailand, are at the forefront in assisting the poor who have been severely affected by the social and economic effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

May 31, 2020

BANGKOK: Many parishes of the Archdiocese of Bangkok, Thailand, are at the forefront in assisting the poor who have been severely affected by the social and economic effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. The Church dedicated to Our Lady of Fatima, in the Din Deng area of Bangkok, has started a special service for the distribution of food.

"Whoever wants to donate for others, can bring food while who needs it can take it freely," PIME missionary Father Daniele Mazza, said. "The government is giving aid such as rice and small amounts of money to needy families, but the needs are many. As a church, we are trying to offer support for the livelihood of poor families."

Father Daniele explained, a group of young people from the parish started this initiative. The room for this service is located in front of the Church and is open to anyone, regardless of their faith.

In Thailand, the spread of Covid-19 has not been as serious as in other countries, but many people have lost their jobs because tourism has collapsed.

Fr Daniele said: "Given the lockdown of tourism, many people are unemployed and for large sectors of the population the situation is worrying."

Observing the norms established by the government, the Thai Church had to suspend all Masses and other public religious activities for a certain period.

"We continued to celebrate live streaming and other prayers such as the Rosary and the Via Crucis. Every Sunday we also have a Rosary with the English-speaking community through Zoom, where about 40-50 families participate", says the missionary.

"We will have to be careful, for some time, with every gathering. I think this experience has taught us how we feel far from the Eucharist and has increased the thirst for the sacraments," he said. "The pandemic teaches us not to take anything for granted, to find time for the Lord and to pray together as a family."

The Catholic community represents 0.58% of the Thai population, with about 390 thousand faithful and 524 churches, 436 parishes and 662 priests, according to data provided to Fides by the Social Communications Office of the Thai Church. The country has a population of 69 million. Most are Buddhists.--ICN

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