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 Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People

People on the Move

N° 96 (Suppl.), December 2004



Cardinal Michael Michai KITBUNCHU

Archbishop of Bangkok,

President of the Episcopal Conference of Thailand


Your Eminence, Your Excellencies,

Distinguished Guests.

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The presence here of Your Eminence Stephen Fumio Cardinal Hamao, President of Pontifical Council for Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, Distinguished Guests and all participants of the Sixth World Congress on the Pastoral Care of Tourism, Bangkok, Thailand July 5-8, 2004 on"Tourism, aimed at bringing peoples together" honors the Archdioceses of Bangkok greatly. It gives me a greatjoyand special privilege to welcome you all in the name of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Thailand, at the opening ceremony of the Sixth World Congress on the Pastoral Care of Tourism at Baan Phu Waan, Pastoral Training Center, Sampran, Thailand, today.

It is a distinct pleasure for me to offer you my cordial greetings and fraternal prayers.

Due homage is to be paid to the achieve­ment and special role of this Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People which has obligation not only to bring peoples together but also to proclaim the Good News: Mission of love and service, according to the Christian principles to the whole world. I wish to express to you all the esteem in which the Church holds those who are entrusted with this important responsibility.

Joining this meeting, there are some hundred delegates from five continents who will discuss on "Tourism aimed at bringing peoples together".This meaningful theme is the fundamental basis of tourism. There is no doubt that, when properly oriented, tourism becomes an opportunity between civilizations and cultures, and in short - a valuable service to peace. Tourism is also an impetus in the fight against poverty, the creation of jobs and social harmony (World Day of Tourism 2003).

It cannot be claimed: tourism becomes an opportunity for dialogue between civilizations and cultures, and in short - a valuable service to peace, when moral, and social values and Christian principles are not safeguarded. Now we move forward to the third millennium. No one is exempted from personal responsibility. Everybody's contribution is important. We must be ready to continue on the road to build the Church's Pastoral Care of Tourism, bringing peoples together in the mission of love and service and spirit of friendship.

I strongly believe that the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrant and Itinerant People looks upon this meeting as a unique opportunity for learning about the achievement and aspiration of this blessed congress. I hope that this meeting will continue to inspire you to aim for even greater achieve­ments in the years to come. Here's to your success in all future undertaking.

I am please to inform that Thailand is the country where the majority of people embraces Buddhism that comprises of religious beliefs and philosophical ideas which is rooted in Thai history, culture and psychology and which profoundly influences the identity as a nation.

With the principle of religious freedom and under the patronage of His Majesty the King, for the Catholic Church in Thailand after more than 400 years of the Evangelization, there are some indications of greater growth in the future. It is also to say that the Catholic Church in Thailand has contributed much to the progress and development of Thai society in various fields of human endeavours. However it is a small flock of Christ's followers.

Therefore permit me on this occasion, as it is my duty to express my personal thanks and the thanks of the Catholic Church in Thailand to the Royal Government of Thailand for the good assistance and excellent collaboration.

Bringing personally again fraternal greetings and best wishes to everyone of you. I wish you to be convinced of the fact that we Thai people are most honored and very delighted to welcome you all and wish you a very good success of this meeting and also a happy and enjoyable stay in Thailand.

In Thailand, the climate is always warm, but the hearts of the smiling Thai people are even warmer to welcome you anytime. When you have a chance to come, please do come again to visit Amazing Thailand!

May Peace, Hope and Joy of the Holy Spirit fill your hearts and remain with you for ever. God bless you.