Thursday, April 26, 2018

New Roman Catholic diocese

It is totally quiet with any changes of the civil administrative subdivisions, so to fill the void here its a good distraction that just yesterday the Vatican has erected a new ecclesial subdivision in Thailand. The diocese of Chiang Mai was split, and a new diocese with the seat in Chiang Rai was erected [Vatican news release].

The new diocese of Chiang Rai (Dioecesis Chiangraiensis, สังฆมณฑลเชียงราย) covers the province Chiang Rai, Phayao, Nan and Phrae, and the district Ngao of Lampang province. As only 0.7% of the population are catholic, it is only responsible for 18062 people which in other countries would be just one parish. Joseph Vuthilert Haelom has been appointed as the first bishop, and will take the post officially when he is ordained and consecrated later this year. The Nativity of Our Lady church in mid-town Chiang Rai has become the cathedral of the new diocese.

It was interesting to observe how fast after the news release the English Wikipedia got a first article about it, and quickly thereafter a German and Polish version popped up as well - there seem to be many more active editors working on Catholicism topics than the country subdivisions. The bishop so far only has a German biography, and for the cathedral there's so far only the Wikidata entry I created. I now have to create new maps for the dioceses in Wikipedia as well, those created in 2005 have a very limited resolution, as at that time SVG maps were not yet supported. The only difficulty will be to correctly add the boundary between the dioceses of Bangkok and Chanthaburi, which don't follow the administrative boundaries in Chachoengsao province. But at least of the new diocese I am already done, as you can see by the map embedded in this posting.