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Vicariate Apostolic of Laos
Separated from the Vicariate Apostolic of Siam by a decree of 4 May, 1899. The vast extent of territory of 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 Annam and Tongking form the eastern boundary, excluding the district of Attapeu 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 Etrangères, with residence at Nong-Seng in the province of Nakong-Phanom. The present Apostolic vicar is Mgr Marie-Joseph Cuaz, titular Bishop of Hermopolis Minor. He was born at Lyon France, 8 Dec., 1862; elected 30 April, 1899; preconized 22 June 1899; and consecrated on 3 Sept. 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 Kirkenlex VI, 683. The most recent available religious statistics may be found in Indo-China (French), subtitle Present Conditions of the Catholic Church in French Indo-China.
Missiones Catholicæ (Rome, 1907); Reinhold in Buchberger, Kirchliches Handlex., s. v.; Annuair Pontifical Catholique (1910); Gerarchia Cattolica (1910); Herder, Konversations-Lexikon, s. v. Lao.
P. J. MacAuley