Thailand: community honours champion for the poor

 A number of celebrations took place in Thailand last Sunday, to honour Fr Ray Brennan, who founded an orphanage, vocational training centres for disabled people, the deaf and blind, a home for street children and a home for the elderly, in Pattaya. Fr Ray died on 16 August, aged 70. In Thai tradition and culture, a person is mourned for 100 days after their death.

The hundredth day was celebrated in many ways. At the Vocational School for the Disabled Fr Philip Banchong, Fr Rays successor, along with the Thai Minister of Tourism, officially opened a new library, named in honour of Fr Ray. Later that day a Memorial Mass was held at the Orphanage attended by over 1000 people.

Through generous donations a life-size statue of Fr Ray was commissioned and unveiled after the Mass. Four groups made up of children, staff and volunteers from the Orphanage; disabled students, elderly home staff and staff from the Redemptorist Centre, students from the Blind and Deaf schools and residents from the Street Children's home, took part.

A spokesman said: "After the dedication by Bishop Tienchai, the covering was removed to applause and cheers from the crowd. Fr Philip Banchong said the statue would remind those present and future generations of Fr Ray's great work.

"A huge feast was served afterwards, with each project preparing different types of food. The children and students loved it, and ate and ate until there was no room for anything else." For more information and pictures visit: /

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