On 11 Dec, 2016, the Catholic Church of Laos welcomed its first group of Blessed. More than a thousand Catholics witnessed the Beatification ceremony of the 17 martyrs of Laos, presided over by Filipino Cardinal Orlando Quevedo in the Sacred Heart Cathedral of the Laotian capital Vientiane. The group of 17 martyrs known as “Joseph Tien and his 16 companions” met their end in the last century in the hands of Communist Pathet Lao forces. A miracle is now needed to clear them for canonization or sainthood. Since the Dec. 11 Beatification, Laotian Catholic communities as well as religious congregations associated with the martyrs have been celebrating thanksgiving Masses.
German Oblate of Mary Immaculate priest, Fr. Thomas Klosterkamp is the postulator or promoter of the sainthood cause of the 17 martyrs of Laos. He was not present at the Beatification in Vientianne but came to know about it from those who attended the ceremony. Today, in the first of a 2-part interview, Fr. Klosterkamp begins by telling us about the Beatification in Vientianne.