A solemn mass of thanksgiving is held at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. For Card Charles Maung Bo, this "is a historic moment for all of us and for the Church in Myanmar”. The new nuncio, Mgr Paul Tschang In-Nam, calls on Catholics to work for national peace and reconciliation.
Yangon (AsiaNews) – The Catholic Church of Myanmar has thanked Pope Francis for his three gifts to the country, namely the establishment of full diplomatic relations between the Vatican and the Republic of the Union of Myanmar and the subsequent creation of the apostolic nunciature, the appointment of Archbishop Paul Tschang In-Nam as the first nuncio, and the pontiff’s apostolic visit to Yangon and Nay Pyi Taw from 27 to 30 November 2017.
On Sunday, some Myanmar bishops expressed their gratitude in a solemn mass of thanksgiving at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Yangon (picture 1).
Scores of priests and thousands of worshippers took part in the service with which the community officially welcomed Mgr Paul Tschang In-Nam. The new nuncio was met with traditional music, dances and flowers (picture 2). He celebrated the Mass in English, whilst Card Charles Maung Bo, archbishop of Yangon, delivered the homily.
"It is a historic moment for all of us and for the Church in Myanmar,” said the cardinal. “In recent years, God has been very benevolent to us showering His triple gifts to the Church and the country. We have all reasons to thank God and the Holy Father who made it possible for all these great and historic events in these days to happen".
For the prelate, these events will help the Church to grow in greater faith and commitment to service and enhance or serve as a missionary impetus in the country for the common good of society.
The nuncio thanked the community for their welcome and invited all Church leaders, priests, nuns, and believers to work for national peace and reconciliation.
Mary George, a local parishioner, attended the service. She told AsiaNews that “Mass in the cathedral, lasting more than two hours, was a great testimony to God's love for the Church and the nation.”
For a joyful Fr Joseph Kyaw Thet, the local parish priest, "God's Grace is unfolding for all of us, in recent and coming days."
Myanmar has about 51 million people. Buddhists are 88.9 per cent of the population whilst Christians represent 6.3 per cent. Catholics number about 700,000, and are waiting "with devotion and prayer the arrival of the pontiff".
Many Christians belong to tribal minorities still in conflict with the country’s powerful military and nationalist movements, and are often victims of violence and abuse.
The country’s three archdioceses and 16 dioceses are served by 17 active and six retired bishops, 939 priests, 1,398 men and women religious, as well as 2,695 catechists.