With schools in Thailand closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, a priest in the hilly village of Mae Jam district in Chiang Mai turned the health crisis into an opportunity to hold catechism for children.
“There were many young hill tribe children who have not yet received the first Holy Communion,” noted Redemptorist priest Meechai Udomdej.
“So I hold catechism classes for them every morning,” said the priest.
Father Udomdej is the pastor of the Mother of Perpetual Help Church in the village of Baan Din Khao, in Chiang Mai, about 800 kilometers north of the capital Bangkok.
Since August until the end of October, when the lockdown of schools of ended, the priest prepared the pupils of nearby St. Joseph School for their First Communion.
The priest said the children were excited and came to church as early as six o’clock in the morning to attend catechism classes.
The church is located on a cliff of one of the highest mountains of the region, making travel, even walking, very dangerous, especially during the rainy season.
The pastor of the village church works closely with the Church-run St. Joseph School of the St. Paul de Chartres Sisters for disadvantaged tribal children.
Most students come from the surrounding villages, many of them staying in the school’s dormitories while others live in nearby villages.
On October 31, last day of the catechism class, 106 tribal children received the Holy Communion for the first time.