In his annual Easter letter to family and friends, Fr. Domenico RODIGHIERO, an Italian Oblate working in Thailand, writes about his ministry:
As you know, I still work with refugees, especially Pakistanis, and with them, we are in the middle of Passion Week. The situation in Bangkok is very difficult and these “poor christs” cannot find peace. Many of them have been in jail for some years now and life is getting more and more complicated. We help them however we can, but our resources are limited and we cannot cope with their needs. It is sad to see a father who comes to ask me for a letter of recommendation to a parish in Canada, while his whole family – wife and five children – has been in prison for almost two years. The last time I met him, he was worried because his six-year-old son had been transferred from the women’s cell where he was with his mother to that of the men. Certainly these people live Passion Week and with Christ; they share the suffering that comes from the lack of humanity of so many people.
Finally, some news that I want to share with you so that you can follow me in a new stage of my missionary experience. At the beginning of May, I will move to my new parish. When I received the obedience, I went to check the location on Google, but unfortunately this powerful medium also takes no notice of the presence of the village where I am destined. The new community I must serve is located in a small village in the mountains of northern Thailand, about 1400 meters above sea level.
Mankhaw: this is the name of the village that does not appear on any map because it is in the forest and has only a few hundred souls. In the rainy season, which will start soon, it is almost inaccessible because the road is hopeless. Attempts at challenging the weather could cost you a nice head-over- heels flight to the bottom of the valley. My new commitment is stereotypical of the mission we all have in mind: the missionary lives in the midst of people in a kind of wooden hut, drinking rain water, and sharing the lives of the villagers. He calls them together for Mass by beating on the rim of a car wheel and eats whatever he finds in the forest.
Certainly it is a challenge, the usual challenge of faith. The result of missionary work in this village will always be small because people are too busy trying to survive in order to stop and study catechism; they are too tired to concentrate on the spiritual life; and when evening comes, the light is too dim and the streets too full of mud to go to church. But God always finds the means to build his Kingdom, and perhaps he just needs someone to care for that community as a sign that he does not forget their fatigue, their poverty, their daily suffering. It does not matter if the name of their village does not appear in the major search engines, nor that their existence will go totally unnoticed and their name will not even be written in the registry of the commune; God remembers them because he loves them and for this reason he is sending me to stay with them.
On May 3, I will reach the village and start what will be a new adventure for me; I do not know where it will lead me. I need your prayers so as to be faithful to my vocation and to live in joy this, my new commitment. Happy Easter.