Laos church reaching out
ICC Note: Laotian clergy ask Thai Church’s help to grow
7/23/10 Laos (UCAN) – Priests in Laos are asking their counterparts in Thailand for help in boosting seminarian formation.
“We talked about obstacles in seminary education, especially the dearth of seminary instructors,” during a recent priests’ retreat, said Father Anthony Wiboon Limphanawooth.
Four bishops and seven priests attended the weeklong retreat, which ended July 23, at Our Lady of Lourdes’ Church in Pakxan, Bolikhamxai province.
Laos has only one major seminary — St. John Vianney Major Semianary in Thakhek. Its rector, Bishop Jean Marie Prida Inthirath of Savannakhet, and a few elderly and retired priests are presently teaching 18 seminarians.
“We have contacted priests from Saeng Tham Major Seminary outside Bangkok, as well priests from neighboring Tharae Nongsaeng archdiocese in Thailand for more teaching staff,” said Father Wiboon, a Thai Redemptorist priest.
Additional staff from Thailand would be available to teach philosophy and theology as early as this September, the start of the new academic year, he said.
“Some philosophy classes may be taught online in the future,” he said.
Bishop Prida has also said he also wants other Laotian priests to teach in the seminary.
Laos has only about a dozen Catholic priests at present.
Retreatants also discussed moving forward the beatification process for 17 martyrs of Laos, who died between 1954 and 1970.