Acta of the Holy See
ASIA/THAILAND - Bishop of Chiang Mai resigns, successor appointed
Vatican City (Agenzia Fides) - The Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI, on 10 February 2009, accepted the renunciation of the pastoral government of the Diocese of Chiang Mai (Thailand) presented by Bishop Joseph Sangval Surasarang, in conformity with the Code of Canon Law, canon 401 § 1. The Holy Father appointed as Bishop of Chiang Mai (Thailand), Father Francis Xavier Vira Arpondratana of the clergy of Bangkok, Director of the Diocesan Catechetical Center and Secretary of the Bishops' Commission for Catechesis.
Father Francis Xavier Vira Arpondratana was born on October 3, 1955 in Sam Saem, Archdiocese of Bangkok. He entered the diocesan minor Seminary of Bangkok, after having attended middle school and high school. He later took courses in Philosophy and Theology at the National Major Seminary Lux Mundi in Sampran. He was ordained a priest on June 7, 1981 for the Archdiocese of Bangkok. In 1984, he earned a degree in Education from the State University of Nakhorn Pathom. He has ministered as follows: 1981:Pastor, Saint Peter's Parish in Sampran; 1981-1985: Vice-Rector of the Bangkok Diocesan Minor Seminary; 1985-1988: Studies for a Licentiate in Youth Pastoral Ministry and Catechesis at the Salesian University in Rome, residing at the Pontifical College of St. Peter; 1988-1989: Head of the Diocesan Office for Catechesis; since 1989: Director of the Diocesan Catechetical Center in Bangkok; 1989-1990: Pastor of Our Lady of Fatima Parish, Din Daeng; 1990-1998: Chaplain of St. Joseph’s Convent School in Bangkok; since 2001: Professor at Lux Mundi National Major Seminary in Sampran.
The Diocese of Chiang Mai was erected in 1969, and is a suffragan of the Archdiocese of Bangkok. It has a surface area of 89,683 km sq and a population of 5,749,882 inhabitants, 48,927 of which are Catholics. It has 33 parishes, 74 priests (20 diocesan and 50 fidei donum), 140 sisters and 22 major seminarians. (S.L.) (Agenzia Fides 12/2/2009)
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