Pope Francis Friday called on bishops in Thailand to keep their doors open for priests and to spread the faith as their missionary predecessors did.
“Be close to your priests, listen to them and seek to accompany them in every situation, especially when you see that they are discouraged or apathetic, which is the worst of the devil’s temptations. Do so not as judges but as fathers, not as managers who deploy them, but as true elder brothers.”
Francis gave a speech to the Asian Bishops Conference at the Shrine of Blessed Nicholas Bunkerd Kithamrung in Sam Phran, 56 kilometers west of capital Bangkok.
Huge crowds, including faithful from Vietnam, Cambodia and China welcomed the pope when he earlier arrived for a meeting with clergy and seminarians at Saint Peter’s Parish in Nakhon Pathom province.
Francis concluded the day’s celebrations with a Mass dedicated to young people at Bangkok’s Cathedral of the Assumption.
Francis is only the second pope to visit Thailand. Pope John Paul II, now Saint John Paul II, was the first in 1984.