Luang Prabang (Fides Service) - On Saturday 11 March Archbishop Salvatore Pennacchio, Delegate Apostolic for Laos, Malaysia, Brunei and Myanmar, as well as Papal Nuncio in Thailand, Cambodia and Singapore, blessed the first church built in north Laos since the Communist revolution in the mid 1970s.
The church is in Pong Vang, Luang Prabang Vicariate Apostolic, in the province of Sayaburi. The 300 Catholics in this area kept the faith and remained united through many difficult years even without a priest. Today they have their own church. “This little Church, dedicated to Our Lady of Fatima, is a reward for the faith of this little community”, Archbishop Pennacchio told Fides.
Sayaburi civil authorities attended the ceremony and Rev. Tito Banchong, Apostolic Administrator of Luang Prabang and Mgr. Brian Udaigwe, an official at the Nunciature concelebrated with Archbishop Pennacchio.
The local Catholics were very happy and deeply moved. During his homily the Archbishop told them he brought greetings from Pope John Paul II, and the Pope’s blessing and encouragement. The day before Archbishop Pennacchio, accompanied by representatives of local and national health authorities, isited Pak-Leum leprosy centre in Prabang to inaugurate programmes funded by the Italian Bishops’ Conference.
(PA)(Agenzia Fides 15/3/2005 righe 21 parole 235)