Vientiane (Agenzia Fides) - The little Church in Laos rejoices for two imminent historic events: as Fides learns, on September 16 the ordination of three new Laotian priests will be held in Savannakhet; while on December 11, on the second Sunday of Advent, the solemn celebration for the beatification of 17 martyrs including priests, religious and lay people who lost their lives in Laos is expected to take place in Vientiane. The Church in Laos received the official approval of the government for both celebrations,.
Philippine Cardinal Orlando Quevedo, Archbishop of Cotabato will preside over the celebration on 11 December. The Mass of ordination, on September 16, will be attended by Laotian Bishops of the Apostolic Vicariate of Vientiane, Luang Prabang, Savannakhet and Paksè.
"It is a historic moment for our Church, a real year of grace", says to Fides His Exc. Mgr. Louis-Marie Ling Mangkhanekhoun, Apostolic Vicar of Paksè. "We are really very happy. We are busy in the preparation of these two important events. We note with satisfaction that the country is opening up more and more and that we are benefiting from this new approach. We hope to strengthen a fruitful cooperation with the civil authorities for the good of the Church and the Lao people. We are confident that we will have guests at the celebrations, such as Bishops or representatives of Cambodia (with whom we share the Bishops' Conference) and we also hope from other neighboring countries. It will be for us a time of full communion with the Holy See and the universal Church. We thank Pope Francis who allowed the celebration of the martyrs to take place in Laos. It is a great gift for all of us", he concludes.
The next three deacons to priesthood belong to the Apostolic Vicariate of Luang Prabang and have the first name of three great saints: Don Paolo Lattana Sunthon, Don Agostino Saegna Sii Bunti, Don Michael Kanthak Vilae Luong Di.
The Laotian martyrs, in all 17, were recognized by Pope Francis in 2015, in two separate cases: the first is that of Italian missionary Fr. Mario Borzaga OMI and of the first local catechist, Paolo Thoj Xyooj, killed in odium fidei in 1960. The second concerns the first Laotian priest, Joseph ThaoTie, along with that of 14 companions of his: ten of these are missionaries belonging to the Society of Foreign Missions of Paris (MEP) and the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate (OMI). Then there are also four lay indigenous catechists. The fifteen martyrs were killed between 1954 and 1970 by the communist guerrilla fighters, Pathet Lao. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 08/09/2016)