Young people are the hope of both the Church and world peace. For this reason, the last mission of His Holiness Pope Francis in Thailand before his journey to Japan was to meet with young Thai Catholics who gathered at Holy Mass to receive inspiration from the pope.
On November 22, 2019 from 12 PM onward, young people, Catholics, and general public flocked to Assumption Cathedral in the hope to see Pope Francis celebrate Holy Mass for young people in the evening. Young people came from dioceses throughout the country as well as Youth Gathering of the Federation of Religious Superiors in Thailand. Young people have been spiritually prepared to receive Pope Francis during youth camp on November 20-29, 2018 at Phra Mae Maree Sathorn School. Nonetheless, it was not just young Thai Catholic, there were also young people of other faiths waiting to see Pope Francis. In addition, before Pope Francis arrived, there were several activities performed at Assumption School which included musical performances by Phraharuthai Nonthaburi School, Archdiocese of Bangkok, the Focolare group, and from Chantaburi Diocese until 3 PM.
At approximately 4.30 PM, His Holiness Pope Francis, the Supreme Pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church and the sovereign of the Vatican City State arrived at Assumption Cathedral from Chulalongkorn University. He boarded the popemobile and moved through the crowd from Assumption College, Assumption Suksa School, and Assumption Convent School so young people, Catholics, and general public around the cathedral would have a chance to see him. Throughout the way, young people shouted out their praise, sang for the pope, and waved national flags of Thailand and Vatican.
The popemobile arrived in front of the Catholic Mission of Bangkok where Pope Francis changed into his sacred vestments. The procession then walked to Assumption Cathedral where Pope Francis presided over the Holy Mass for young people. On this day, it was also the feast day of the martyr St. Cecilia who gave herself to God since her youth who was an example of love and faith. After the Readings, Pope Francis gave a homily. During the offertory, representatives of young people dressed up in their ethnic clothing and brought the offerings to the altar. Pope Francis together with cardinals, archbishops, bishops, young people, Catholics, and general public united in the Eucharistic liturgy.
Assumption Cathedral is the center of Catholic Church in Thailand. It was built as an offer to the Assumption per the request of Father Jean-Baptiste Pascal 1809. Later, Father Émile August Colombet, M.E.P had the church in its current location built in 1934 and also offered it to the Assumption of Mary. In 1965, the church was elevated to cathedral at the same time as the elevation of Diocese of Bangkok to that of the Archdiocese of Bangkok. Moreover, 35 years ago, when Pope St. John Paul II visited the cathedral, he gave the opportunity for priests, male and female religious to have an audience with him on May 11, 1984.
At the conclusion of the Holy Mass, Cardinal Francis-Xavier Kriengsak Kovithavanij as the representative of the Roman Catholic Church in Thailand and Thai people informed the pope of their gratefulness and appreciation for his missions in Thailand. Pope Francis, in response, thanked His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn, the Royal Thai Government, and the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Thailand as well as everyone who took part and sacrificed to prepare for his journey and thanked them for their prayers. The pontiff, then, bid farewell to Thailand and asked for people not to forget to pray for him. The Recessional walked out of the Assumption Cathedral, the pope stopped to greet with young people inside the cathedral before for the Apostolic Nunciature Embassy of the Holy See to Thailand. And that was the end of his mission in Thailand before he would travel to Japan the next morning.