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    » 04/16/2010, 00.00

    LAOS

    Thousands of Laotians Catholic at ordination of Mgr. Inthirath

    J.B. VU

    It is probably the largest gathering of the faithful ever in the country. The rite attended by prelates of Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Philippines and France to show solidarity with a minority church, still keeping one eye on the authorities.

    Thakhek (AsiaNews) - Thousands of Catholics, maybe 10 thousand, many of them coming from neighbouring countries, took part in a very rare event for Laos, the ordination of a new bishop. The rite in which Mgr. Jean Marie Inthirath Prida, 53, assumed responsibility for the Apostolic Vicariate of Savannakhet, took place April 10 in St. Louis Cathedral (pictured) Thakhek, on the banks of the Mekong, in the central part of the country, the largest gathering of Catholics in the country's history.

    The Catholic Church Laos, in fact, has about 43 thousand faithful out of a population of more than six million people, overwhelmingly Buddhist. It is a community that has only four bishops and 16 priests, counting the two who are well beyond the age of "retirement", but one that is still very much kept under the watch by the authorities, even after the end of the harsh of communist Patet Lao period and the nation’s timid opening to economic and social renewal.  

    An extraordinary crowd, then, for an ordination ceremony that was attended by prelates who came from Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Philippines and France and chaired by Mgr. Louis-Marie Ling Mangkhanekhoun, president of the Episcopal Conference of Laos and Cambodia. Cardinal Pham Minh Man came from Vietnam, to witness the relationship that has united Catholics of the two countries for centuries. The testimony of the friendship of so many Catholic countries was underlined by the same Mgr. Inthirath Prida, who thanked all the "Mother Church" for never having forgotten the Laotian Catholics.  

    For his part Mgr. Salvatore Pennacchio, apostolic delegate in Laos, stressed the relationship that must exist between bishops and priests, "based primarily on charity," and reminded the faithful that they all "have a great responsibility to share the task of witnessing love for others and the Gospel message of salvation".

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    See also

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    Bishop Schmitthaeusler, the "young bishop" long awaited by the Church in Cambodia
    On 20 March this year the Episcopal ordination of the coadjutor of Phnom Penh was held. The sign of peace with the apostolic vicar has represented the ideal handover between "father and son", to strengthen the Church's presence in the country. Among the priorities to be addressed "unity" of the faithful, education of young people.

    08/10/2008 VIETNAM
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    Thousands of faithful have celebrated with Bishop Hoang Van Dat, in recent weeks one of the targets of the disinformation campaign by authorities. Human Rights Watch asks the government to put an end to the violence against Catholics, and to release those who have been arrested.

    05/12/2006 LAOS
    Laos: two ordinations to priesthood on 9 December
    A few months after the historic ordination of Fr Vilavongsy that took place after 30 years of persecution, the small Catholic community of Laos will celebrate the priesthood of Peter Wilaiphorn Phonasa and Luke Sukpaphorn Duangchansai.

    20/10/2009 VIETNAM
    In 2008, 30 thousand Montagnards became Catholics
    The figure emerged during the celebration of World Mission Day. In Vietnam, this year, the celebration is intertwined with preparations for the Jubilee of 350 years of the Church in the country and 60th anniversary of the institution of the Episcopal Conference. And the Redemptorists mark 40 years of their mission in the highlands.



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