Pope creates new diocese in Thailand, appoints bishop in Vietnam
Pope Francis on Wednesday created the Diocese of Chang Rai in north-east Thailand and appointed Father Joseph Vuthiler Haelom as its first bishop.
The new diocese has been created out of the territories of Chiang Mai, making it a suffragan of the Metropolitan Archdiocese of Bangkok.
Comprising four provinces and a district, Chang Rai Diocese will be a suffragan for the Metropolitan Archdiocese of Bangkok.
The episcopal seat of the new diocese will be in Chiang Rai and its Cathedral Church will be the parish Church of the Nativity of Our Lady.
Bishop designate, Fr. Haelom was born on 17 December, 1951 in Lamsai, in the Province of Pathumthani in the Archdiocese of Bangkok. He entered the Diocesan Minor Seminary in Bangkok and subsequently completed his philosophical and theological studies at the Lux Mundi National Seminary in Sampran. He was ordained priest on 3 August 1980 and incardinated into the Archdiocese of Bangkok.
He has held the following positions:
1980-1981: Assistant parish priest of Assumption Cathedral Church in Bangkok
1981-1985: Parish priest of St. Theresa's Church in Nongjok
1985-1989: Parish priest of Our Lady of Fatima Church in Bangkok
1989-1995: Director of St. Joseph Upatham School and Vice-Rector of St. Joseph Minor Seminary in Bangkok
1995-2000: Director of the Diocesan Commission for Social Works and parish priest of the Holy Rosary Church in Bangkok
2000-2004: Rector of the Pastoral Centre in Sampran
2004-2012: Parish priest of Sacred Heart of Jesus Cathedral in Chiang Mai (Fidei Donum)
2005-2012: Vicar General of the Diocese of Chiang Mai (Fidei Donum)
Since 2012: Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Bangkok
Also on Wednesday, Pope Francis appointed Father Joseph Nguyen Duc Cuong the new Bishop of Thanh Hoa in Vietnam’s North Central Coast region. The seat of Thanh Hoa has been vacant since October 29, 2016, after Pope Francis transferred Bishop Joseph Nguyên Chi Linh to Hue as Archbishop.
Fr. Cuong was born on October 14, 1953, in Quang Truong, Diocese of Thanh Hoa. He attended the Simon Hoa Minor Seminary of Da Lat and later studied at the Major Seminary there. He continued his studied at the Pontifical College of St. Pius X also in Da Lat.
After his priestly formation at the Major Seminary of St. Joseph of Saigon he proceeded to Manila in the Philippines 2012, where he attended a course in leadership at the East Asian Pastoral Institute.
After his priestly ordination on June 27, 1992, for Da Lat Diocese, Fr. Cuong held the following positions:
1992-2001: Assistant parish priest of Tan Thanh, Bao Loc
2001-2005: Assistant parish priest of Tan Bui, Bao Loc
2005-2015: Parroco della parrocchia di Tan Bui, Bao Loc;
Since 2015: Parish priest and Dean of Madagui