Northern Laos Plans 1st Ordination in 40 Years

LUANG PRABANG, Laos, OCT. 28, 2010 ( On Dec. 12, the first priestly ordination in 40 years will be held in the Apostolic Vicariate of Luang Prabang.

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The apostolic administrator, Bishop Tito Banghong, will ordain Pierre Buntha Silaphet, 30, in the village of Phomvan where the priestly candidate was born, AsiaNews reported.

Since 1975, when the Communist government took over Laos, the Vicariate of Luang Prabang has had no cathedral, but only small chapels around the region.

In that same year, the government expelled and banned all foreign missionaries.

Bishop Banchong obtained permission from the authorities for the celebration of this ordination, but he was warned that it should be presented as a local village ceremony rather than an event of importance.

There are four apostolic vicariates in Laos. In the Luang Prabang Vicariate there are some 2,560 Catholics, representing 0.2% of the population. It is divided into six parishes, with one priest currently serving all the faithful.

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