By THA SC
Surat Thani, Thailand -- On September 30th 2018, Bishop Joseph Prathan Sridarunsil, SDB presided at Mass in St Raphael's Cathedral, Suratthani for the 50th anniversary of the Surat Thani Diocese.
Before the celebration of Mass, there was a Folk Dance performed by the students from Thepmitrsuksa School. During the homily, Bishop Prathan spoke of the the meaning of the celebration:
- to look back the past
- to understand the present
- to plan for the future
After Holy Communion there was the blessing of the statue of Mary Help of Christians borne by a wooden throne on wheels. Throughout this year of celebration, the statue of Mary Help of Christians and its cart will travel to all churches of the diocese. After Mass, the Bishop gave flags to representatives of each of the churches of the Diocese as a symbol of the 50th anniversary of the Diocese of Surat Thani.
The Diocese of Surat Thani in southern Thailand was founded in 1969, when it was split off from the Diocese of Ratchaburi by papal bull Qui Regno Christi. It is a suffragan diocese of the Archdiocese of Bangkok. The area of Surat Thani was evangelized by the Salesians of Don Bosco in the 1930s.
The diocese covers an area of 76,562 km², covering all of the southern provinces of Thailand, including Prachuap Khiri Khan as its northernmost province. As of 2018, of its nine million citizens, 7,359 or 0.1% are members of the Catholic Church. The diocese is divided into 39 parishes, which are grouped into four regions.
- Joseph Prathan Sridarunsil, S.D.B.: appointed October 9, 2004
- Michael Praphon Chaicharoen, S.D.B.: June 21, 1988 - May 20, 2003 (deceased)
- Pietro Luigi Carretto, S.D.B.: June 26, 1969 - June 21, 1988 (retired)
- St Raphael Cathedral is in the town of Surat Thani. The church was built in 1962, and became a cathedral when the diocese was established in 1969.