Written by Sherry
Wednesday, 30 May 2007 06:58
What a fascinating story. Via Asian Catholic news.
The only Bhutanese convert to Catholicism today is a Jesuit priest, Father Kinley Tshering, who discovered his vocation when he found himself sitting next to Mother Teresa of Calcutta on an airplane.
He encountered Christianity as a student in a Jesuit school in Darjeeling, India. He wanted to become a Catholic but the Jesuits refused to baptize him. Finally, a Salesian priest baptized him in the 9th grade.
"He wanted to become a Catholic priest, but some missioners dissuaded him saying he could serve the Church better as a married layman in Bhutan.
All this changed after a chance meeting with Blessed Teresa of Kolkata during a flight in 1985. The young Bhutanese executive sat next to the founder of the Missionaries of Charity. "She convinced me that I had a religious vocation. Then nobody could stop me."
Today, he is headmaster of the school in Darjeeling that changes his own life. But he is waiting for democracy to be established in Bhutan so that he can return there and minister as a priest.
"Father Tshering says he can "literally count" the number of Christians in Bhutan. "They are mostly Indians and Nepalese, and are considered outsiders." Protestants outnumber Catholics."
Father Tshering says his faith in Christ has never wavered. However "so many dissenting voices in the Catholic Church" worry him.
At the time of his conversion, he wanted to preach the Gospel in his country. "After so much training, we get confused," he said, adding that "only Christ" remains unchanged. "It is a real challenge to be a Catholic. It is one's basic conviction in Jesus that keeps one's faith (alive)," he added.
Sherry's note: The World Christian Database estimates that Bhutan has 17,000 Christians out of a population of 2.1 million. 1,000 are Catholic, 5,000 are Protestant, 11,000 are Independents.