DAILY CATHOLIC    FRI-SAT-SUN     June 4-6, 1999     vol. 10, no. 108


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      Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday we spotlight each member of the Conclave in alphabetical order. We find this necessary as our dear Sovereign Pontiff Pope John Paul II grows older, clinging to hope, as we join him, of seeing the light of the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart with the dawn of the new millennium - the Jubilee Year 2000. How much longer this 264th successor of Peter has left on this earth only God knows for sure, but His Divine Mercy is evident in allowing him to be with us this long for he truly is a saint for our times, truly Christ's Vicar on earth in these waning days before the glorious Reign of the Sacred Heart, the Time of Peace, the Era of the Eucharistic Presence, the New Pentecost, the Second Advent, the Age of the Holy Spirit. What 1999 will bring we have no idea, nor does anyone else, but with John Paul II at the helm, we feel much more secure in knowing God's Will will be done. Nevertheless, we want to preview the future Pope whether that be soon or much, much later, for no one lives forever and eventually one of those prelates will be selected as the 265th successor of Peter. This will give the reader a better insight into the man whom the Holy Spirit will move the conclave to choose. Thus we bring the reader vignettes on each cardinal in alphabetical order gleaned from the Catholic Almanac, Inside the Vatican and other sources.

61.   Cardinal Michael Michai Kitbunchu

          The Archbishop of Bangkok in Thailand is Cardinal Michael Michai Kitbunchu who was born on the Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul, January 25 in 1929 in Samphran, Thailand in the archdiocese that he would ultimately head. He studied for the priesthood at Siracha in Thailand and attained a degree in both Theology and Philosophy in Rome at the Urban Pontifical College. It was in the eternal city that he was ordained on December 20, 1959. After further studies he returned to Bangkok where he was appointed consultant for the Archdiocese. In the mid sixties he became Rector of the metropolitan Seminary in Bangkok which he held until 1972 when Pope Paul VI named him not only bishop, but Archbishop of Bangkok on December 18, 1972. He was installed that following summer on June 3, 1973 and has remained in this post for twenty six years.

          Ten years after his appointment as Archbishop, he became Thailand's first ever cardinal when Pope John Paul II included him in his second Consistory on February 2, 1983 bestowing on Cardinal Kitbunchu the red-hat and the titular church of St. Laurence in Panisperna. He still serves membership in the Office of the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See and the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples while residing at Assumption Cathedral on 51 Oriental Avenue in Bangkok 10500, Thailand. His most recent international exposure occurred last August when he hosted the week-long World Assembly of Families which is a major challenge for Catholics in southeast Asia for Thailand's Catholic population is in the vast minority with only 4% of the sixty million Thais claiming fidelity to Rome.

June 4-6, 1999       volume 10, no. 108


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