New Bishop in Northeast Makes Interreligious Dialogue a Priority

February 15, 2007

Source: Indian Catholic/UCAN

NAKHON RATCHASIMA, Thailand (UCAN) -- The new bishop of a diocese in northeastern Thailand says he hopes to develop understanding among Thais of different faiths, not just in the northeast but throughout the kingdom.

Bishop Joseph Chusak Sirisut, 50, was ordained bishop of Nakhon Ratchasima on Feb. 10 at Marie Witthaya School, 250 kilometers northeast of Bangkok.

About 7,000 laypeople joined 15 bishops, 240 priests and 200 nuns at the celebration. Most clergy came from beyond the diocese. Besides Monsignor Brian Udaigwe, a counselor at the Apostolic Nunciature in Thailand, special guests included three Buddhist monks and six Protestant pastors.

The school was used as the ordination venue because it has more space than Our Lady of Lourdes Cathedral Church in the city.

Pope Benedict XVI appointed Bishop Chusak to lead the diocese on Nov. 30, the same day he accepted the resignation of Bishop Joachim Phayao Manisap, 77. Bishop Chusak told UCA News that Bishop Phayao will remain in the diocese to "counsel and help," and continue the "big job" of evangelization.