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LAOS Bishop of Savannakhet dies at age 76
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LAOS  Bishop of Savannakhet dies at age 76
July 14, 2009  |  LA07583.1558  |  268 words     Text size btn_textsize_sm.gif btn_textsize_lg.gif

BANGKOK (UCAN) -- Bishop Jean Sommeng Vorachak, apostolic vicar of Savannakhet, died on July 14 of bone marrow cancer. He was 76.

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Bishop Jean Sommeng Vorachak (third left)
ordains a priest in January 2009 in Laos

A source from St. Louis Hospital in Bangkok, where he died, said the prelate passed away at 6 a.m. The late bishop was admitted to the hospital a week earlier in serious condition. He has previously received periodic treatment in Udon Thani, in northeastern Thailand.

According to the source, a Laotian priest and brother were with the bishop when he died.

Later, hospital chaplain Father Chokechai Kuratanasuwan, about five relatives of the late bishop and several nuns, including one from Laos, gathered to pray for him. His body will be returned to Laos.

Cardinal Michael Michai Kitbunchu, administrator of Bangkok archdiocese, announced Bishop Sommeng's death to priests gathered in Sam Phran, just outside Bangkok. The priests from across Thailand, who were gathering to officially open the local celebration of the Year for Priests, observed a minute's silence.

Bishop Sommeng was born in 1933 in Ban Sian Vangtha near Thakhek, about 100 kilometers north of Savannakhet. He was one of nine children of Catholic farmers.

After attending minor seminary in Laos, he went to a major seminary in France. He was ordained a priest in 1963 and went on to Rome for further studies.

In 1965, he returned to the Khammouane pastoral region, one of the two pastoral regions of the vicariate.

In 1973, the future bishop was made rector of the minor seminary in Thakhek.

He was made pro-vicar of the Savannakhet apostolic vicariate in 1975 and ordained bishop in 1997. With his death, the vicariate is now vacant.



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