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Hundreds pray without priest at Easter
Government 'plans to convert seized chapel into a school'Lao Catholics attended a liturgical service in the chapel before it was confiscated by the government last February
- ucanews.com reporter, Xaybuly
- April 10, 2012
â€śAround 200 Lao Catholics recited the rosary, sang hymns and read the Gospel to celebrate Easter in front of Kengweng chapel, while four armed soldiers watched from the chapelâ€™s gate,â€ť Lovers of the Holy Cross Sister Josephine Seusy, who organized the ceremony, said.
â€śWe prayed with the risen Christ for the government to return the chapel,â€ť she said.
The chapel, built in 1964, was closed off to parishioners by Savannakhet provincial authorities in February.
The 200 sq m chapel set on a 500 sq m plot of land is located in Xaybuly district of the province.
â€śThe government decided to confiscate the chapel after saying we had no ownership papers,â€ť she said.
â€śIt plans to build a school on the plot.â€ť
On Saturday, three local Catholics were arrested and questioned by security officials after they removed a closure notice which was posted on the main door of the chapel by government officials in February.
The faithfulÂ had also gathered outside the chapel to celebrate Palm Sunday.
Sister Seusy said priests from elsewhere are still being prevented from providing pastoral services for local Catholics.
She said she and her five novices have to hold prayers, teach catechism and provide communion, baptism and funeral services.
There are around 3,000 Catholics among 850,000 people, most of them Buddhists, in Savannakhek province.