OFM Thailand

[English] | [Thai]


Our History

The Franciscans had arrived in Thailand in 1582 and stayed here until the destruction of Ayutthaya in 1767. They can be considered the first bearers of the faith to the Kingdom of Siam, since the Portuguese Dominicans who arrived a bit earlier did not stay in the Kingdom for long. Although we are not well informed of the work of the first friars in Thailand, looking at their diaries, we can find friars in Ayutthaya, Sukhothai, Chumpon and Chantaburi. In 1985, the Franciscans began a new mission in Thailand, with the kind invitation of His Eminence Cardinal Michael Michai Kitbunchu, the now archbishop emeritus of Bangkok. The friars bought a 64’000 m2 piece of land in 43 Moo 8 Lamsai, Lamlukka, Pathumthani-12150, and build a retreat center, which was the aim for which the Franciscans were invited to enter Thailand.

It was the SAAO Conference with Br. Anselm Moons (Dutch missionary in Pakistan, General Definitor for Asia) who decided to start the mission in Thailand.

The first friars were Br. Gus Fernandez (Pakistan) and Br. Jim Heinsch (USA, a missionary in the Philippines). They arrived in Bangkok in June 1985. Since then, there have been many friars from different countries who came to Thailand. These are the former missionaries in Thailand: Br. Gus Fernandes (Pakistan, 1985-1988), Br. Jim Heinsch (USA/Philippines, 1985-1991), Br. Benny Baisas (Philippines, 1989-1992), Br. Desmond Lean (Australia, 1987-1993), Br. Anthony Egiguren (Spain/Korea, 1988-1998), Br. Peter Montallana (Philippines, 1991-1992), Br. Gabriel Sabolla (Italy, 1992-1999), Br. George Boggs (Australia, 1993-1995), Br. Stefano Cho (South Korea, 1991-1995), Br. Doug Hamill (USA, 1993-1994), Br. John Summers (USA, 1994-1998), Br. Celso Larracas (Philippines), Br. Joseph Peleba Tolok, (Indonesia, 1999-2004), Br. Joseph O’Toole (Scotland, 2000-2003), Br. Paulo Cezar Magalhaes Borges, (Brazil, 2000- 2010), Br. Manipadath Varkey Johnson (India, 2000-2011), Br. Luis (Ecuador, 2006-2007), Br. Honarat Piotr Cwikla (Poland, 2006-2010), Br. Jesus Galeote Tormo (Spain-Bolivia, 2006-2014), Khushi Lal (Pakistan, 2012-2014), Br. Yustinus Damai Wasono (Indonesia, 2010-2015), Br. Athanasius Xaxa (India, 2006-2016), Br. Alforinus Gregorius Pontus (Indonesia, 2006-2016).

In June 2013 our Br. Francis Xavier Rerkchai Panuphan made his solemn profession and became the first Thai friar of the Franciscan Foundation of Thailand. Furthermore we have 5 temporary professed friars and 1 postulant.

Our Friars

Since October 2017 we are 5 foreign and 1 Thai friars with solemn vows:

Br. Francis Xavier Sutardja, from Indonesia, President of the Franciscan Foundation of Thailand, Director St. Clare Hospice, OFS Assistant

Br. Francis Xavier Rerkchai Panuphan, from Thailand, Vicar and first Counselor, Animator of Vocations, Parish Priest, Head of House Prachuap Khiri Khan

Br. Arvind Kerketta, from India, Second Councelor, Formator, Secretary for Formation & Studies, Secretary for Mission & Evangelization, Head of House Sampran

Br. Jeff Haller, from USA, Treasurer Sampran and Bangkok, Teacher, Head of House Bangkok

Br. John Thinh Gia Nguyen, from Vietnam, Assistant Formator Sampran

Br. Mauro Zannin, from Italy and Switzerland, Bursar and Secretary Franciscan Foundation of Thailand, Director Garden of Gospel Peace Retreat Center and Friary Lamsai

Brothers in initial formation:

Br. John Danai Ruangkitkayan, Temporary Professed Friar

Br. Anthony Udomsak Wongprachanukul, Temporary Professed Friar

Br. Cyprian Apikorn Komonpithakchai, Temporary Professed Friar

Br. John Baptist Chatchai Sawinawe, Temporary Professed Friar

Br. Joseph Chi Thien Chi Duong, Temporary Professed Friar

Br. Joseph Prapassorn Pounthien, Postulant


Our presence in Thailand

– in the center of Bangkok (about 33 kms from the Suvarnabhumi International Airport),
– in Lamsai (about 40 kms North East from the Suvarnabhumi International Airport),
– in Sampran (about 75 kms West from the Suvarnabhumi International Airport),
– in Prachuap Khiri Khan, (about 300 kms South West from Bangkok),
and we hope to expand to other dioceses of Thailand in the future.

Our goal

The goal of the Franciscan mission in Thailand is, to establish the Franciscan Order in this country and interreligious dialogue, especially with Buddhism.

The main activities of the friars in Thailand are:

– Managing the Garden of Gospel Peace Retreat Center in Lamsai
– Caring for people with AIDS at St. Clare Hospice in Lamsai
– Formation of new friars and of those who like to join us in Sampran and the Philippines
– Vocational discernment in Sampran, Prachuap Kiri Khan and Lamsai
Besides the above mentioned, friars are also engaged in different activities according to the needs of place and time, such as promoting interreligious dialogue, teaching catechism and English in schools, organizing youth camps, spiritual assistance of the Secular Franciscans in Bangkok and Chiang Rai, pastoral visits to the sick, occasional visits to prisoners, conducting vocational promotion, etc.

Copyright © 2012 OFM Thailand