Apostolic delegate to Myanmar visits Mandalay archdiocese

» 09/19/2011 17:54

by Yaung Ni Oo
The pontifical representative celebrated Mass in Sacred Heart Cathedral. Love is at the centre of human life, he told the faithful. During his stay, he spent time at a seminary and announced a new visit at the beginning of next year. The bishop of Myitkyina called for peace in Kachin state where the refugee situation is getting worse because of clashes between the military and rebel troops.

Mandalay (AsiaNews) – This morning in Mandalay, the Apostolic Delegate for Myanmar, Mgr Giovanni d’Aniello, celebrated a Mass in the Catholic Cathedral of the Sacred Heart. At the end of the service, he met the bishop of Myitkyina, Mgr Francis Daw Tang, together with priests and ordinary believers.

The pontifical representative’s visit to the local community lasted a while. This gave him an opportunity to stress the importance of love in human life and its role from a Christian perspective.

The prelate also visited a small town, an hour from Mandalay, where dined with a group of faithful from the archdiocese.

Mgr D’Aniello finally thanked the Christian community for their “warm welcome”, announcing a new visit to the archdiocese of Mandalay at the start of next year.

In recent days, the bishop of Myitkyina appealed to Christians to work in favour of peace, urging them to pray for the country’s leaders as well as the people displaced by clashes (on the northern border with China) between the Burmese military and Kachin rebels.

Mgr Francis spoke last 14 September during the annual feast day of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, at Ahlam Cross, on top of Mount Inkhine, in Kachin state.

Recently, the area, which is home to about 100,000 Catholics, has become the scene of open warfare between the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and the Burmese military.

Dozens of people have been killed since fighting broke out on 9 June. Despite attempts at mediation, tensions remain high.

Local sources said that the situation in refugee camps is steadily worsening with people running out of food and money or getting sick.

In order to help the development of the Kachin people, the Catholic Church has come up with various educational projects. The first involves nursing schools to train staff for the cities as well as remote areas.

The Church has also built schools run by priests but affiliated with the state school system.

Each parish in Myitkyina has also its own hostels and boarding houses that provide food and lodging along with a religious education and catechism.

The Church subsidises promising but needy students through scholarships in university and vocational schools.