Tracing the Church’s first steps in Siam – Ayutthaya

During his trip to Thailand to celebrate the 350th anniversary of Vatican’s Mission to Siam, Cardinal Fernando Filoni, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, visited St. Joseph Catholic Church and the “Legacy of Mission Étrangère de Paris” on Tuesday, May 21, 2019.

Why did the cardinal visit Ayutthaya? Because that is where the history of Catholic community in Thailand begins. It is the birthplace of Catholicism in the country and it would become the center of the MEP’s mission to Siam.

In 1665, King Narai of Ayutthaya granted a piece of land for the MEP to open a school and build a church. It wasn’t until the next year that the construction began. Later on, a seminary was built to train local clergy. In 1674, the church was the site where Bishop Louis Laneau became the first Bishop of Siam.

To commemorate the occasion, Thai Catholic Media, St. Joseph’s Catholic Church and the Bangkok Archdiocese created a special exhibition in Ayutthaya — “Legacy of Mission Étrangère de Paris” to celebrate 350th anniversary of Mission to Siam.

The exhibition includes a replica of a ship that is a symbol of the “Good News” that the missionaries had brought with them to Siam plus 350 years of history on display. The exhibition will be opened from June 4, 2019 till June 4, 2020.