Roman Catholic Diocese of Ratchaburi
|Diocese of Ratchaburi
|Area||31,362 km2 (12,109 sq mi)|
|(as of 2004)
|Cathedral||Cathedral of Nativity of Our Lady in Amphoe Bang Khonthi|
|Bishop||John Bosco Panya Kritcharoen|
|Metropolitan Archbishop||Kriengsak Kovitvanit|
Location of the Diocese of Ratchaburi
The diocese covers an area of 31,362 square kilometres (12,109 sq mi), covering four of the western provinces of Thailand - Ratchaburi, Phetchaburi, Kanchanaburi and Samut Songkhram. As of 2001, of the 2.2 million citizen 15,246 are member of the Catholic Church. It is divided into 17 parishes, having 71 priests altogether.
The diocese dates back to 1930, when the Mission sui iuris of Rajaburi was created, originally responsible for all the south and west of Thailand. It was run by the Salesian order, who came there in 1927. The 18 missionary took over a mission previously run by the Paris Foreign Missionaries. In 1934 it was elevated to Prefecture Apostolic, 1941 to Vicariate Apostolic. In 1965 it became the Diocese of Bangnokhuek. In 1966 it was renamed to Diocese of Ratburi. In 1969 the Diocese of Surat Thani was split off from the diocese, which continued to be run by Salesian, while Ratchaburi was since then under the responsibility of native priests.
While the cathedral is located Bang Nok Khwaek, the diocesan center is located within the town Ratchaburi.
The cathedral of the diocese is the Nativity of Our Lady Cathedral (Thai: อาสนวิหารแม่พระบังเกิด). It is located in Bang Nok Khwaek, Amphoe Bang Khonthi, Samut Songkhram Province. The church is built in French Gothic style and decorated with stained glass windows imported from France. In two rows these show scenes of the life of Jesus in top row, as well as holy people (men to the north, women to the south).
Aroung 1840 nine Chinese Catholic families moved to the rim of the Mae Klong river. The community grew to about 200 Catholics till 1847, when a first wooden church named Sala Daeng (Red Hall) or Raung Yao (Long Canal) was built near the location of the current cathedral. In 1850 Father Marin bought the land at the mouth of the Khlong Damnoen Saduak and donated it to the church.
In 1890 the French missionary Father Paulo Salmon started the construction of the Nativity of Our Lady church, which was inaugurated on February 2, 1896. During World War II several of the windows broke, which took till 1993 to be fully repaired. 1994-99 a major renovation of the cathedral was done, overlooked by Father Pradit.
- John Bosco Panya Kritcharoen: appointed March 18, 2005
- John Bosco Manat Chuabsamai: November 25, 1985 - July 24, 2003 (resigned)
- Joseph Ek Thabping: October 2, 1975 - February 12, 1985 (died)
- Robert Ratna Bamrungtrakul: June 26, 1969 - April 28, 1975 (became bishop of Chiang Mai)
- Pietro Luigi Carretto, S.D.B.: April 12, 1951 - June 26, 1969 (became bishop of Surat Thani)
- Gaetano Pasotti, S.D.B.: May 28, 1934 - September 3, 1950 (died)