UCA News

Thailand

New diocese for ethnic minorities in northern Thailand

Move will allow the church to offer improved pastoral care to some 16,000 Catholics living in remote areas

ucanews.com reporter, Bangkok

ucanews.com reporter, Bangkok

Updated: April 27, 2018 05:42 AM GMT
Support Asia's largest network of Catholic journalists and editors
Support Asia's largest network of Catholic journalists and editors
New diocese for ethnic minorities in northern Thailand

The Vatican has appointed Father Joseph Wutthilert Haelom as the first bishop of Chiang Rai Diocese. (Photo supplied by Thai Catholic Media)

Share this article :
A new diocese has been created in northern Thailand to better meet the pastoral needs of ethnic minority groups living in remote mountainous and rural areas.

Pope Francis appointed Father Joseph Wutthilert Haelom, vicar general of Bangkok Archdiocese, to oversee the newly created Chiang Rai Diocese.

The new diocese has been separated from Chiang Mai Diocese, which served more than 60,000 lay people.  

Bishop-elect Haelom said he previously served in Chiang Mai for eight years and knows all the eight provinces that had made up that diocese.

"With the separation there are now 16,000 Catholics in the new Chiang Rai Diocese, most of whom are from ethnic groups," said Bishop-elect Haelom.

Among the ethnic people in the new diocese are the Archa, Lanna, Lahu, Isan, Thaiyai and Kachin people, said a statement put out by the office of Cardinal Francis Xavier Kriengsak Kovithavanij.

The Catholic Church in Thailand has seen the need to offer more pastoral care and missionary work for different ethnic groups with their own languages and cultures in this remote part of the country.

Cardinal Kovithavanij announced the creation of the new diocese and its bishop at his office in Bangkok on April 25. The process to create the new diocese took three years. Nativity of Our Lady Church has been chosen as the diocese's cathedral.

The new diocese will cover Chiang Rai, Phrae, Nan and Phayao provinces and Ngao district in Lampang province.

Support UCA News...

As 2020 unfolds, we are asking readers like you to help us keep Union of Catholic Asian News (UCA News) free so it can be accessed from anywhere in the world at no cost.

That has been our policy for years and was made possible by donations from European Catholic funding agencies. However, like the Church in Europe, these agencies are in decline and the immediate and urgent claims on their funds for humanitarian emergencies in Africa and parts of Asia mean there is much less to distribute than there was even a decade ago.

Forty years ago, when UCA News was founded, Asia was a very different place - many poor and underdeveloped countries with large populations to feed, political instability and economies too often poised on the edge of collapse. Today, Asia is the economic engine room of the world and funding agencies quite rightly look to UCA News to do more to fund itself.

UCA News has a unique product developed from a view of the world and the Church through informed Catholic eyes. Our journalistic standards are as high as any in the quality press; our focus is particularly on a fast-growing part of the world - Asia - where, in some countries the Church is growing faster than pastoral resources can respond to - South Korea, Vietnam and India to name just three.

And UCA News has the advantage of having in its ranks local reporters that cover 22 countries and experienced native English-speaking editors to render stories that are informative, informed and perceptive.

We report from the ground where other news services simply can't or won't go. We report the stories of local people and their experiences in a way that Western news outlets simply don't have the resources to reach. And we report on the emerging life of new Churches in old lands where being a Catholic can at times be very dangerous.

With dwindling support from funding partners in Europe and the USA, we need to call on the support of those who benefit from our work.

Click here to find out the ways you can support UCA News. You can make a difference for as little as US$5...
UCAN Donate
YOUR DAILY
NEWSLETTER
Thank you. You are now signed up to our Daily Full Bulletin newsletter
 
Support UCA News

William J. Grimm, MM

Publisher

Union of Catholic Asian News

"As Pope Francis has said, we live not so much in an era of change as in a change of era. That is especially true in Asia and for the churches of Asia. UCA News is the dedicated, Asia-wide news and information service for the Church in Asia and we need your help to maintain the service."