Chin Bishop Appointed For New Diocese Established In Kalay
09 June 2010: Felix Lian Khen Thang, previously an auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of Hakha, was appointed by His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI to be the first bishop of a newly established diocese in Kalay Myo, Sagaing Division of Burma late last month.
The new diocese, claimed to be emerging not as an expansion but as an administrative division of a territory that used to be part of the Hakha Diocese under Bishop Nicholas Mang Thang, was erected as the Kalay Diocese on 22 May 2010.
“It’s a historic day, not only for the Church but also for the Zomi in Myanmar,” said Clement Shoute.
“The formation of a new diocese within the Roman Catholic Church totally rests on the decision made by the Vatican. It’s not something the local community can demand or organize. The appointment of a bishop and formation of Kalay diocese, all this decisions are made by His Holiness guided the Holy Spirit.”
Fr. Andrew, parish priest of Tedim said: “Although we are now in 2 dioceses, we are one in the Holy Spirit.”
The Kalay diocese has a population of 1.3 million, of which 49,000 are Catholics. It has 20 parishes, 26 diocesan priests, 84 Religious, 29 seminarians and 120 catechists. St Mary’s Church in Kalay will be the diocesan cathedral, according to the Holy See’s Bulletin.
The parish church of St. Mary’s Parish in Kalay Myo will become the Cathedral of the newly erected diocese.
Brief Biography of The New Bishop
His Exellency Bishop Felix Lian Khen Thang was born in Gamngai village, Tedim, on Christmas Day, 1959, the oldest brother among eight siblings. He entered St. Aloysius Minor Seminary in Pyin Oo Lwin and studied Philosophy and Theology at St. Joseph National Major Seminary in Yangon.
After being ordained a priest in 1990, he served as parish priest for a few years before leaving in 1993 for studies in Rome. From 1995 to 1997, he attended a diplomatic course at the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy.
He then served one year as secretary at the Apostolic Nunciature in Madagascar, Africa, before being transferred to Bangladesh, where he served as secretary at the nunciature in 1998-2002. From 2002 to 2004, he served in the same capacity in Morocco. Then he returned to Hakha diocese and was appointed chancellor.
Van Biak Thang