August 17, 2020, 10,00 o’clock at the Assumption Cathedral in Bangkok three young men ware ordained priests by Card. Michael Kriengsak Kovitvanit, one of them was an Oblate of Mary Immaculata: br. Thongchai Tongros. It was an extraordinary event for the Oblates in Thailand because priest ordinations are scarce. The number of vocations has been decreasing in all the Kingdom during the past few years that’s why such an event is a great feast for all the catholic communities of Thailand.
The cathedral was full of people (as the social distancing allowed), big displays were set in the different spots around the Church so the faithful could join the event. The atmosphere was solemn and the liturgy was well prepared. The renewed cathedral was the perfect setting for the consecration of these young men to God.
Fr. Thongchai was born in a small village among the rice field at Sisaket in the North-Eastern region of Thailand, a place that gave many men and women to the Church. Still very young he entered the minor Oblate seminary in Sampran and his formation was a long journey with many OMI brothers from all over the world. His vocation discernment was facilitated not only by the formators but also by his very catholic family: father, mother, brothers, uncles, and aunties, all proud of having a priest in the family.
Fr. Thongchai not only took advantage of the international atmosphere in the Thai oblate community, but he also spent a few years in the Philippines for his theological studies. The oblate seminary in Manila accepts students from all over Asia and, sometimes, from Africa too. There fr. Thongchai had a broad experience in oblates life and spirituality as well as in pastoral work. The Philipino Church is big and varied, the catholic are fully involved in the life of the parish community and the expressions of faith are many. All sorts of groups, with their specific charisma, make the life of the church joyful and welcoming for everybody.
When fr. Thongchai came back from the Philippines he spent a year in the Lomsak oblate mission situated in Phetchabun province, he was ordained deacon and he moved in Saint Michael parish in Bangkok where he helped in the liturgy and took care of the center for the assistance to the poor people in the area.
August 17, 2020, Thongchai was ordained priest, all his family was there, the Oblates concelebrated in the ordination mass and after almost 20 years journey he finally closes a long period of formation and now is ready to work full time in serving the Church in Thailand and the Congregation of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate.