My name is fr. June Ongart and I come from Chiang Mai, I belong to the Pakayo hill tribe group and I am an Oblate of Mary Immaculate. I entered the Oblates because I love the charisma of Eugene the Mazenod, I also feel, as he did, that my vocation is to serve the poor.
Last year 2016 I was assigned in Petchabun province where I take care of the Good Shepard Hmong Center and serve, as parish priest, at the Our Lady of Lourdes church. Both these commitments bring a special gift from God to me.
The Good Shepard Hmong Center is a job rooted at the heart of the Oblate Charisma. Fr. Yves Bertrait started to work with this tribe when he was in Laos, in the fifties, and later he founded a Center in order to evangelize this group through media. It was something really innovative at that time and still is a very good way to reach these people who mostly live in the remote mountain areas.
At the same time I am the parish priest of Our Lady of Lourdes parish, as I said, and also this job is very interesting. This parish represent the Catholic Church at the government level and it’s in my parish that many official celebrations take place. In addition, the parish priest, celebrate the mass and teach catechism to the kids at Saint Joseph School run by Saint Paul the Chartres sisters. These young people are mostly Buddhist and some belong to the hill tribe groups.
Our Lady of Lourdes parish has also some villages in his jurisdiction, but the parishioners are few and aged. The young people cannot effort to live there because there is no job that’s why the move to the near cities, but sometime they go to Bangkok or Pattaya. Some of my parishioners in one of the small villages migrated from the North-East and the majority of them work at Saint Joseph School in Petchabun.
All together I serve four villages and I spend some days a week there, I celebrate the mass in order to encourage them and make they fell that the Church always care for them. I am sure that the love of God will grow in them and they will become a sign of God’s presence among the brothers of other religion.