Apostolic Vicariate of Luang Prabang
|Apostolic Vicariate of Luang Prabang
Vicariatus Apostolicus Luangensis Prabangensis
|Metropolitan||Immediately subject to the Holy See|
|Area||83,700 km2 (32,300 sq mi)|
|(as of 2010)
|Established||1 March 1963|
|Apostolic Vicar||Sede Vacante|
|Apostolic Administrator||Tito Banchong Thopanhong|
Vicariate Apostolic of Luang Prabang (Latin: Vicariatus Apostolicus Luangensis Prabangensis) is an apostolic vicariate (pre-diocesan jurisdiction, entitled to a titular bishop) of the Latin Roman Catholic Church in northern Laos.
It is exempt, i.e. directly dependent on the Holy See (not part of any ecclesiastical province) and its missionary Roman Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. It has no episcopal see, its former Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, in Luang Prabang, having been secularized. It is vacant since 1975, entrusted to 'temporary' Apostolic administrators.
As per 2014, it pastorally cares for 2,693 Catholics (0.2% of 1,692,000 total) in 8 parishes;with 1 priest (diocesan) and 5 seminarians.
It was established on March 1 1963, when it was split off from the Vicariate Apostolic of Vientiane.
Since the communist takeover of Laos in 1975 the Catholic Church in the vicariate of Luang Prabang has been strongly suppressed. Three churches were existing in Luang Prabang 1975, of which one was destroyed, one became a police station and one is used as a residential home. Also the bishop is only allowed to travel to two of the six provinces, namely Luang Prabang and Xaignabouli, and also has to stay in Vientiane as the government doesn't give him a permanent staying permit for the north. However recently the situation starts to improve, in 2005 the first church built since 1975 could be consegrated in Ban Pong Vang (Xaignabouli), also in 2003 the church was allowed to buy land in Luang Prabang to build a residence within the vicariate.
(all Roman Rite)
- Apostolic Vicars of Luang Prabang
- Lionello Berti, Oblates of Mary Immaculate (O.M.I.) (1 March 1963 - death 24 February 1968), while Auxiliary Bishop of mother see Vientiane (Laos) (1962.06.18 – 1963.03.01) and Titular Bishop of Germanicopolis (1962.06.18 – 1968.02.24)
- Alessandro Staccioli, O.M.I. (26 September 1968 - 29 November 1975), Titular Bishop of Tauriano (1968.09.26 – ...); later Auxiliary Bishop of Siena–Colle di Val d’Elsa–Montalcino (Italy) (1975.11.29 – retired 1990.12.10)
- The see of the apostolic vicar has been vacant since 1975. Since then the vicariate has been headed by successive Apostolic Administrators :
- Thomas Nantha, (29 November 1975 - 7 April 1984), Titular Bishop of Succuba (1974.04.25 – 1984.04.07), while Apostolic Vicar of mother see Vientiane (1975.05.22 – 1984.04.07) and President of Episcopal Conference of Laos and Cambodia (1979 – 1984)
- Jean Khamsé Vithavong, O.M.I (1984 - resigned 1999), while Titular Bishop of Moglæna (1982.11.19 – ...) and Apostolic Vicar of above Vientiane (1984.04.07 – ...)
- Tito Banchong Thopanhong (since April 1999 - ...), no other office
- Religious freedom in the Democratic People's Republic of Laos (PDF document, in German, English and French)