Vicariate Apostolic, separated from the Vicariate Apostolic of Siam by decree of May 4, 1899
Laos, Vicariate Apostolic of, separated from the Vicariate Apostolic of Siam by decree of May 4, 1899. The vast extent of territory in Further India embraced within the ecclesiastical unit is politically divided. The country to the west of the Mekong River, excepting the Province of Bassak, is included in the Kingdom of Siam; that east of the river is under French rule. The vicariate embraces the whole of the Mekong valley from the frontiers of Cambodia as far as those of China; on the west is the Menam with tributary streams; the mountains of Anam and Tongking form the eastern boundary, excluding the district of Attopeu which is attached to the Vicariate of Eastern Cochin-China. The ranks of the missionaries have been frequently thinned owing to the unhealthy nature of the climate; epidemics of cholera morbus and bubonic plague are of constant recurrence.
The vicariate is entrusted to the Paris Society of Missions Etrangeres, with residence at Nong-Seng in the province of Nakhon-Phanom. The present Apostolic vicar is Msgr. Marie Joseph Cuaz, titular Bishop of Hermopolis Minor. He was born at Lyons, France, December 8, 1862; elected April 30, 1899; preconized June 22, 1899; and consecrated on September 3 of the same year. The history of the territory previous to its formation into a separate vicariate is given in Piolet, "Les Missions", II (Paris, s. d.), xiii; cf. Neher in "Kirchenlex.", VI, 683. The most recent available religious statistics may be found in INDO-CHINA (FRENCH), sub-title Present Condition of the Catholic Church in French Indo-China.
P. J. MACAULEY