THE SACRED HEART
CHURCH - PATONG
The liturgy is the first place people receive instruction so each church or chapel should not only be a place for meetings or symbolic ceremonies but also a place that takes us to Christ. No matter the style of church , Romanesque, Gothic, Baroque etc., the church and its altar, statues, and paintings should teach us something that helps us know Christ and the eternal salvation he brought to us.
Fr.Carlo Ramondetta, who opened the first church in Patong dedicated the church to the Sacret Heart of Jesus.
The place chosen for the church was fine at the time but as Patong grew, the church became too small and was surrounded by many night clubs.
So September 10, 2009 we purchased a villa at 8/9 Soi Manisi .
Little by little we have been transforming the villa.
Now on the first floor there is sufficient space for recreation, meetings, and parking. The second floor includes the Church, sacristy, confessional, and kitcken. The third floor will have a room for catechetical instruction and for the priest.
So we have everything we need to assist the local Christians and tourists with masses and catechesis in Thai, English, and Italian.
The heart of the building is the church which will accommodate 100 people.
The heart of the church is the tabernacle.( Read Exodus capp. 25-26 )
Many people ask me the meaning of the images and pictures in the Church.
The explanation is very simple but very important.
St.Gaspare Bertoni, who lived in the 18th centuary ( 1777-1853 ) , was in love with the Eucharist. The celebration of his mass was very long, devote and with many ecstasies. During his 30 years of sufferings when the bishop called him for the confession of particular sinners, Fr. Gaspare used to pass all the night in adoration of Jesus in the tabernacle.
So the tabernacle was the center of St.Gaspare’s life.
In the same way the Eucharist and the tabernacle should be the center
of all Christians.
On November 4,1816, Fr.Gaspare started the congregation of the Stigmatines.The word comes from the Stigmata – the Stigmatine priests and brothers are particularly devoted to the Five Wounds of Jesus.
On the wall visible from inside and outside of the church there is a big blue Cross which indicates the way to heaven.
On the opposite wall there are the images of the Holy Spouses, Joseph and Mary who were chosen by St. Gaspare as patrons of the Stgmatines because they are the symbol of the virginal love, that is, a single, total and eternal love for Jesus Christ.
Therefore, there is a picture of the Sacret Family whose duty is to protect all the families who are coming to pray here as well as those living in the different countries around the world.
At the back, near the confessional, there is the picture of the Merciful Jesus who through the Sacrament of Reconciliation can forgive all our sins.
Also important are the different pictures and statues of the Virgin Mary.
At the time of St.Gaspare, the Immaculate Conception was not a dogma but St.Gaspare was very devoted to Mary Immaculate. Infect, from his childhood he consecrated himself to her.
When he started the Oratories he called them Marian Oratories.
On the main wall, outside of the church, there are three different statues:
The Sacred Heart of Jesus, St. Joseph and St. Gaspare Bertoni.
St.Gaspare was very devoted to the Sacred Heart. The Church is dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. All of us know the importance of this devotion.
Jesus promised to bless all the people where his image is venerated.
St. Gapare promoted the devotion of St.Joseph in Verona because St. Joseph was the person who taught Jesus how to prey, how to meditate the Torah ( Jewish’s Bible ) and how to serve humanity with a humble heart.
For the many people who live in or come to Patong St. Joseph can serve as a role model of morality and how to live a life without endangering others.
St. Gaspare lived during the conflict between Austria and France
When most of the men were involved in the war.
He saw that women and children were idle.
St. Gaspare was the spiritual director of twelve men and women who founded variuos congregations in Verona to offer assistance to women, children, orphans, the sick, to people in need.
He started the Congregation of Stigmatines with the purpose to help the Bishops and of forming very good gardeners – which means very good and holy priest – so that they could take care of the garden – meaning Christians and most especially children – so they could grow up as flowers, not weeds – that is, they could grow up to lead good moral lives and not the lives of bad people. His ministry included passionately teaching the priests, hearing confessions, opening schools, providing catechesis for the children along with opening the Marian Oratories.
In a very short time the small number of children in his flock increased to over 400. Of these children 23 became priests and some of these priests became missionaries.
In Patong there is a real war against women, children and migrant workers.
St. Gaspar Bertoni spent his life helping men, women and children avoid evil and lead a good, moral life. Now, through the Sacred Heart Church, he has a very good opportunity to help people living in or coming to Patong for work, vacation, or amusement.
Any person who comes to pray at the church in Patong can choose whom to trust with his or her problems or aspirations, secure in the knowledge that the saints will take him or her to the center, that is, to the living Christ in the Eucharist.