Hua Hin, Thailand. Fr. Dominic Savio Suphot Riungam was born in 1958 in Prachuap Khiri Khan in the Kingdom of Thailand. He is now the rector of a formation house for young men deciding to be Salesians of Don Bosco in Sampran, 40 kilometers at the west of Bangkok.
The Salesian House of Sampran has a prenovitiate with 9 students, three of them from Cambodia, the postnovitiate with three clerics and one lay brother and the Saint Dominic Savio House, a retreat center for children under the care of Fr. Suthep John Baptista. The vice-rector of Sampran is Fr. Cais Francis.
Fr. Suphot said to donboscoasia.info that this year the house will host also the novitiate after May with probably 4 or 5 novices, two of them from Cambodia.
donboscoasia (DBA): How is the situation of vocations for the Salesians Order today in Thailand?
Fr. Suphot (FS): The difficulty is that young people today do not dare to think in vocation. It seems like they are afraid to think about. Maybe it is also that today there are a lot attractions from the world like the modern development of technologies and they want to enjoy it and they think they will not enjoy it if they think in following Jesus. They fear to lost the freedom they think they have.
DBA: How is the Catholic Church in Thailand and tell us the proportion of Catholic students in the Salesian schools.
FS: The Thai Catholic Church is rather small, the 0,5 percent of the national population. We are about 250 thousand Catholics. The proportion of Catholic students in our schools is about 5 percent of the alumni. It means, in a group of one thousand students, you can find probably 50 Catholics youth, except in our Saint Dominic School in Bangkok where most students are Catholic.
DBA: What the Salesians of Don Bosco do in Thailand?
FS: We have three areas of action:
The first is about parishes in the Surat Thani province, southern Thailand where the bishop is a Salesian, Bishop Joseph Pratan. Most of the parishes are under the care of the Salesians, about 20 parishes, two of three parishes are under our care.
The second area is made by schools. We have five academic schools and two technical centers. The academic schools are in Udon Thani, Sarasit, Saint Dominic in Bangkok, here in Hua Hin and Haad Yai. The two technical schools, both of them have the name 'Don Bosco', are in Bangkok and Bampong. But we are in charge also of 4 schools of the diocese.
Third and last area is made by the houses for the poor. We have one in Chan Mai, with tribal children and one in Bansaic, in the south, with the orphans of the Tsunami.
DBA: Please send a message to the young people of Asia, especially the students of the Salesian schools.
FS: The life of the young is very precious. Young people are full of energy and we must do everything to support them. My message to all young people can be divided in two advice: first, be responsible with your life and with what you have to do; second, participate, get involve, in the community and place where you are, your school, your parish... don\'t stay alone.