To meet the Spiritual needs of the Lao people
To provide catechetical
and liturgical materials in Lao language
To advocate on behalf of Lao people
The Laotian Catholic National Pastoral Center was founded by Fr. Louis Leduc M.P. (Paris Foreign Mission) in the early 1980ís. Fr. Leduc once served as a missioner in Thailandís northeastern province where Isan was spoken.. The Paris Foreign Mission congregation sent Fr. Leduc to serve the Lao Catholics who resettled in the United States. The Center was located in Fort Worth, Texas and based in a local multicultural parish.
In the mid-1980ís Fr. Leduc, Sr. Alice Thepouthay and a former Redemptorist priest, Peter Tran, worked together as a mission team. They traveled extensively throughout the United States and Canada to meet and to serve the Lao Catholics. During the summer months, Bishop Pierre Bach traveled with the team and another Redemptorist priest, Fr. Will Lowery, a former missioner to Thailand, became the fourth member of this pastoral team.
Together the team organized a mission for the Lao people in the communities where they settled. All were invited to come to church and to celebrate together. These missions united Lao Catholics and provided for the pastoral needs of the people. Often during the visits, people would ask the team members if they knew where their families or friends were located. Some gave their relativesí addresses to the team members so they could contact them.
After the death of Fr. Leduc in 1995, Bishop Bachís office (The Apostolate of Lao Catholics in Diaspora) and the United States Catholic Conference for the Care of Migrants and Refugees contacted Sr. Alice Thepouthay. Sr. Alice, a member of the Sisters of Charity of St. Joan Antida, located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, was asked to take over the Laotian Catholic National Pastoral Center. With the help of Mr. Khamphoui Singvongsa, president/pastoral leader of the Laotian Catholic Community of Chicago-Elgin/ Indochinese Catholic Pastoral Center at St. Thomas of Canterbury, located in Chicago, Illinois, Sr. Alice began organizing conferences for the Laotian community. Every two years, leaders of the Lao Catholic communities in the United States and Canada, were invited to attend the Conference. During the Conferences, participants were able to bring up pastoral issues and concerns.
Bishop Bach and Sr. Alice continue to travel to Lao communities in the United States one year and to Canada the following year. They are able to speak to the people in their own language and listen to their concerns. The Lao congregation, in turn, is able to share life concerns especially those dealing with adjusting to life in a new country, parent-children conflicts, differences in values and issues related to Church (i.e. the role of sacraments for the Lao Catholic.) These visits are highlighted with meeting people, sharing in feasts and experiencing the life of the Lao Catholics in their new homeland. The Conference always culminates with a celebration that includes Mass.