The mass to consecrate the church will be led by Bishop Joseph Prathan Sridarunsil SDB, Bishop of Surat Thani Diocese, which includes Phuket. The diocese paid for the land and has been a strong supporter of the project.
But all other funds for the construction and fitting-out of the church have been raised from within the local congregation who, for the past 19 years, have held Sunday services at various hotels in the Laguna complex, thanks to the kindness of various general managers there, starting in 1995 with James Batt.
Over the past six or seven years that congregation has grown, partly due to the residential development of that area of the island and partly due to the friendliness of the parishioners towards tourists and locals alike.
“The need for a permanent home was becoming clear,” says Cherng Talay resident Michael Hosking, one of the driving forces behind the new church.
“We petitioned Bishop Joseph to grant us official parish status during a Christmas lunch in 2010 and this was achieved before our beloved priest, Father Richard Woodarek, sadly passed away.
“We took delivery of the land from the diocese in 2011 and fund-raising for the new church began in earnest then. In just three years we are on the verge of opening; it’s almost miraculous’’.
Many of the congregation are long term Asian expats or Asian Catholics from Hong Kong, Singapore and China, and it’s from their contacts and resources that the parish has been able to achieve so much.
“We’ve had world class architects and designers support the project and some very generous financial contributions from Thailand and overseas too, without which this project would have remained a dream,” Mr Hosking said.
Everyone – not just Catholics – is welcome to attend the consecration service on July 6, starting at 9am.
St Joseph’s is on Pasak Soi 8, just off the Bandon-Cherngtalay Rd. Heading into Cherng Talay from the Heroines Monument, turn right at Lemon Grass and Farang restaurant.
The church has a website. Go here.