Bishop's rare ordination attracts thousands

Bishop’s rare ordination attracts thousands

2010-04-12 11:34:39
THAKHEK, Laos (UCAN) -- More than 4,000 Catholics descended on a quiet provincial town on the bank of the Mekong river in Laos to witness the extremely rare event of a bishop’s ordination here. Bishop Jean Marie Prida Inthirath, 53, on April 10 was ordained and installed as apostolic vicar of Savannakhet apostolic vicariate in the compound of St. Louis Cathedral in Thakhek. The central Laotian town has about 800 Catholics in a population of tens of thousands, most of whom are ethnic Vietnamese. Thakhek is capital of Khammouane province and the base of Savannakhet vicariate, one of four vicariates in Laos. The town is principally a collection and processing center for plywood. Among the people at the episcopal ordination were 12 bishops from Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia and Thailand, and some 80 priests. Guests came from throughout Laos as well as neighboring countries and France. The principal consecrator of the ceremony, conducted wholly in the Lao language, was Bishop Louis-Marie Ling Mangkhanekhoun, apostolic vicar of Pakse, who is also president of the Episcopal Conference of Laos-Cambodia. He was assisted by Bishop Jean Khamse Vithavong, apostolic vicar of Vientiane, and Archbishop Salvatore Pennacchio, the Bangkok-based apostolic delegate to Laos.

Priests urged to work closely with bishop

Archbishop Pennacchio called on priests of Savannakhet vicariate, “the first collaborators of the bishop,” to maintain close relations with him. “The relationship between bishop and clergy should be based before all else on charity, so as to be effective in their apostolate,” he said. Addressing the laypeople of the vicariate, the papal delegate said, “You also bear a great responsibility to cooperate with your key shepherd, to witness the Gospel love and the message of salvation among the people.” Bishop Prida later told UCA News he was moved by the large crowd at the ceremony. Noting that people came not only from Laos but also from neighboring countries and elsewhere, he said, “This shows the communion and universality of the Catholic Church.” Bishop Prida was born in 1957, the fifth child in a family of seven children, in a village in Khammouane province. He entered the seminary in 1975. In 1980, his family emigrated to France, and his parents died there. In 1986, he was ordained a priest, after which he served in numerous parishes and village communities throughout Savannakhet vicariate, except from 1993-1995, when he was in France for further studies. In 2003, he became rector of the St. John Vianney Major Semianary in Thakhek, the only major seminary in the country. Pope Benedict XVI on Feb. 19 appointed him bishop and apostolic vicar of Savannakhet. The vicariate has about 12,500 Catholics, spread across 54 communities and villages, out of a total population of more than 1 million people who are mainly Buddhists. Six priests currently serve the vicariate. LA09392.1597 April 12, 2010 54 EM-lines (462 words) ‘We are part of the universal Church’ Youth camp features sports for first time Pope names new bishop for Savannakhet vicariate
Sign up to receive UCAN Daily Full Bulletin
Thank you. You are now signed up to our Daily Full Bulletin newsletter
© Copyright 2018, All rights reserved
© Copyright 2018, Union of Catholic Asian News Limited. All rights reserved
Expect for any fair dealing permitted under the Hong Kong Copyright Ordinance.
No part of this publication may be reproduced by any means without prior permission.