The Burmese remember "his unconditional love". The PIME priest was killed in hatred of the faith in the village of Donokù on 7 February 1953. Mgr Isaac Danu, bishop of Taungngu, is in Italy for the beatification ceremony.
Milan (AsiaNews) – For Myanmar Catholics, Fr Alfredo Cremonesi (picture 1) offers "the image of a great missionary who gave his life to evangelisation with unconditional love," said Mgr Isaac Danu (picture 2, middle), bishop of Taungngu, speaking to AsiaNews.
The prelate is in Italy for the beatification ceremony of the missionary and martyr of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME), killed in hatred of the faith in Donokù, a village in the diocese of Taungngu, on 7 February 1953.
On 19 March, Pope Francis authorised the Congregation for the Causes of Saints to publish the decree recognising Fr Cremonesi’s martyrdom. Card Angelo Becciu, prefect of the Congregation, will lead the solemn Mass and the rite of beatification, which will take place tomorrow at 3.30 pm in the cathedral of Crema, the blessed’s diocese of origin.
For Mgr Danu, “Fr Cremonesi announced the Gospel in a very remote and extremely poor region. His love for the local population and the people of Myanmar was absolute.” For this reason, the faithful of the diocese of Taungngu welcomed with great joy his beatification and are now preparing to celebrate it.”
"On Sunday, the faithful will participate in a thanksgiving Mass in the parish where he was killed. Local Catholics will remind everyone of the greatness of service rendered to the people of Myanmar by the PIME missionary. He will be celebrated with great pomp in February 2020 as well, on the 8th and 9th of the month. Meanwhile, work continues on building a church in his name."
PIME missionaries arrived in Myanmar (then called Burma) in 1868 and they served the remotest and abandoned groups, the tribes of the eastern regions, which were not under British rule, and therefore untouched by the modern world.
The devotion they have for the Fathers and missionaries is great. As evidence of that, some 20,000 Catholics took part in last year’s solemn celebrations marking the 150th anniversary of the arrival of the first priests from the Institute in Eastern Burma.
"The testimony of PIME missionaries is still alive today,” Mgr Danu explained. “First of all, they brought us the faith, making us Christian and Catholic. But their work did not stop there: they took care of the education, including morality, of tribal people. They shared knowledge about farming and built buildings. Fr Cremonesi was the best expression of all that. He loved, helped and protected people, even in the face of life's hardships."