Bishop John Hsane Hgyi, the bishop of Pathein diocese of Myanmar has expressed joy over the joint agreement between the Holy See and the Republic of the Union of Myanmar of establishing diplomatic relations, a decision he says is for the positive evolution and for the steps towards change.
The decision came after the meeting in the Vatican held on May 4, between Pope Francis and leader Aung San Suu Kyi, State Councilor and Foreign Minister of Burma.
The Bishop notes that the main challenge is to resolve conflicts with ethnic minorities. He hopes all the different ethnic groups can join the May 24 national meeting in Yangon for the signing of a ceasefire and make it a real step towards national reconciliation.
All peoples in Myanmar and all religions want peace he says but today the nation needs an effort on behalf of everyone to reach peace. The Catholic Church expresses the utmost solidarity even with the Rohingya Muslims and desires solutions that respect human dignity and human rights, according to criteria of peace and justice the Bishop notes.
The Catholic Church in Myanmar is observing 2017 as the Year of Peace and the faithful are encouraged to fast, make sacrifices and to raise awareness for peace in the nation. Currently seminars and conferences are being promoted on the subject of reconciliation in different dioceses and the collaboration of other religious leaders is sought the Bishop said.
The Government spokesperson Zaw Htay commenting on the diplomatic relations said that his country wanted to be part of the international family and that establishing diplomatic relations with the Vatican was key to that, given its role as a reference point for all Christians.
A spokesman for the Catholic Church in Myanmar, Fr. Soe Naing, said the new relationship would do more than merely facilitate direct contacts between the Holy See and Yangon.
The need for peace is expressed at all levels. Cardinal Bo at an interreligious peace conference in Yangon on April 26 reminded his counterparts from other faiths about their moral obligation to build peace and harmony at the grassroots levels in the strife-torn nation. He said that the wish for peace needs to shine through every word and deed, and solutions must be found through “dialogue and mutual understanding.”
About one percent of Myanmar’s 51 million people are Catholics where the church has been active for five centuries. The celebrations for the 500 years of the Church in Myanmar should have taken place in 2011, but the political situation and the lack of true religious freedom then, did not allow for such a nation-wide celebration. Hence the jubilee year was marked from Nov. 24, 2013 to Nov. 23, 2014.(Fides)
(from Vatican Radio)…
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis’ prayer intention for May is dedicated to Christians in Africa: That Christians in Africa, in imitation of the Merciful Jesus, may give prophetic witness to reconciliation, justice, and peace.
The Apostleship of Prayer has produced the Pope’s Video on this prayer intention.
The full text of the Pope’s Video is below:
When we look at Africa, we see much more than its great natural richness.
We see its joie de vivre, and above all, we see grounds for hope in Africa’s rich intellectual, cultural and religious heritage.
But we cannot fail to see the fratricidal wars decimating peoples and destroying these natural and cultural resources.
Let us join with our brothers and sisters of this great continent, and pray together that Christians in Africa, in imitation of the Merciful Jesus, may give prophetic witness to reconciliation, justice, and peace.
(from Vatican Radio)…
(Vatican Radio) The Church should be on its feet and on the journey, listening to the restlessness of the people, and always with joy. That was the message of Pope Francis this morning in the homily for the morning Mass at the Casa Santa Marta.
In the first eight chapters of the Acts of the Apostles, the Pope said, “there is a summary of the whole history of the Church”: preaching, baptism, conversion, miracles, persecution, joy, but also the ugly sin of those who join themselves to the Church for their own ends, “those benefactors of the Church who in the end cheat the Church,” like Ananias and Sapphira. The Holy Father began his homily with this reflection, then moved on to a consideration of the day’s readings. He first emphasized that the Lord from the beginning accompanied His disciples, confirming the Word with miraculous signs. He never left them alone, not even in the worst moments.
Pope Francis the focused on three “words” taken from the day’s first Reading, inviting those present to re-read the passage at home. The first saying was the words of an angel to Philip: “ Get up and go. ” “This,” the Pope said, “is a sign of evangelization”: the vocation, and the great consolation of the Church, is to evangelize.
“But in order to evangelize: ‘Get up and go!’ One doesn’t say: ‘Stay seated, calm, in your house’: No! In order to be faithful to the Lord, the Church should always be on its feet and on the journey: ‘Get up and go.’ A Church that does not rise up, that is not on the journey, is sick.”
And, the Pope continued, this can cause the Church to be closed in on itself, with many psychological and spiritual traumas – “closed into a little world of gossiping, of things… closed, without horizons.” And so, he said, the Church must “get up and go,” it must be “on its feet and on the journey.” This is how the Church must go about evangelizing.
“ Go up and join with that chariot ” – the second message Philip received from the Spirit – was the next expression Pope Francis emphasized. In the chariot was an Ethiopian, a proselyte of the Jewish religion, a eunuch who had come to Jerusalem to worship God. As he travelled, he was reading the prophet Isaiah. The passage concerns the conversion of a “finance minister,” which, the Pope said, means it was a “great miracle.” The Spirit called Philip to join himself to that man, Pope Francis continued, emphasizing how important it was for the Church to know she must listen to the restlessness in the heart of every man:
“All men, all women have a restlessness in their hearts – [they may be] good or bad, but there is a restlessness. Listen to that restlessness. It’s not saying: ‘Go out and proselytise.’ No, no! ‘Go and listen.’ Listening is the second step. The first: ‘Get up and go’; the second: ‘Listen.’ That ability to listen: What do people feel? What does the heart of the people feel? What does it think? But do they think mistaken things? But I want to hear these mistaken things, in order to understand where the restlessness is. We all have this restlessness within. The second step for the Church is to find the restlessness of the people.”
It is, then, the Ethiopian himself who, seeing Philip approach, asks who the prophet is speaking about, and asks him to join him in the chariot. And so, the Pope said, Philip began to preach “with meekness.” The restlessness in the heart of that man found an explanation that responded to the hope in his heart. This was possible, Pope Francis continued, “because Philip joined him and listened to him.”
While the Ethiopian listened, the Lord was working within him. In this way, the man understood that the Prophet Isaiah was speaking of Jesus. His faith in Jesus then grew to such a point that when they arrived at a place where there was water, he asked to be baptized. “He asked for Baptism because the Lord had worked in his heart,” the Pope said. Then, after he had been baptized, when the Spirit took Philip and bore him away, the eunuch continued on his way, filled with joy. This “ joy of the Christian ,” Pope Francis said, is the third “word” from the Reading.
Pope Francis concluded his homily with the hope that the Church would be “on its feet,” “a mother who listens,” and “with the grace of the Holy Spirit … finds the Word to say”:
“Mother Church, which gives so many children to the light with this method, we would say – let us use the word – this method which is not proselytistic: it is the method of the witness to obedience. The Church, which tells us today: ‘Rejoice.’ To rejoice; joy. The joy of being Christian, even in ugly moments. Because after the stoning of Stephen a great persecution arose, and the Christians scattered everywhere, like seed carried on the wind. And it fell to them to preach the Word of Jesus. May the Lord give to all of us the grace to live the Church in this way: on our feet and going out, listening to the restlessness of the people, and always in joy.”
(from Vatican Radio)…
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has urged members of Vatican media platforms not to be afraid of reform, and to embrace the challenge of change that will enable them to bring the message of the Gospel to all.
Addressing representatives of the Secretariat for Communications (SPC) gathered for its first Plenary Assembly, the Pope said that to “reform is not just to whitewash things; it’s to give them a different form and organization”.
“It’s something, he said to those charged with overhauling the Vatican’s different news and media outlets, to be done with intelligence and what he called a good kind of ‘violence’.”
Headed by the Prefect, msgr. Dario Viganò, the new Dicastery was created by Pope Francis exactly two years ago with the mandate to unify all Vatican communications platforms: the Vatican Television Center, the Vatican Publishing House, The Osservatore Romano newspaper, Vatican Radio, the Holy See Press Office, the Vatican Photographic Service, the Vatican Internet Service, the Vatican Printing Press and the former Pontifical Council for Social Communications.
Describing the issues addressed during the Plenary are “very dear to his heart,” Pope Francis said the work taken on by the SPC aims to “find new criteria and new ways of communicating the Gospel of mercy to all peoples and cultures making use of the new digital culture at our disposal”.
He highlighted the fact that – as specified in his ‘Motu proprio’ which established the new Dicastery – the reform is not about coordinating or merging the various platforms, but sets up something completely new with a single and unified management which will be able to better respond to the needs of the Church’s mission.
Reflecting on the fact that in the past each platform had its own channels and mediums of communication (the written word, images, audio) the Pope said that “all these forms of communication today are transmitted with a single code that uses the binary system.”
Thus, he said, the Vatican newspaper is called to find a new and different way to reach a much higher number of readers that it does through its printed format.
He said that through the years Vatican Radio has become an ensemble of portals and “must be reshaped according to new models so it can conform to modern technologies and to the needs of our contemporaries”.
And regarding the Vatican’s radiophonic service, the Pope had special words of appreciation for the efforts being made in consideration of countries that are not technologically developed – “I think of Africa” he said – praising the “rationalization of Short Wave frequencies that have never been dismantled.
“History undoubtedly represents a precious patrimony of experience to be safeguarded and used as a push towards the future” he said, pointing out that otherwise it would be a mere museum: “interesting and nice to visit, but unable to provide the strength and courage for the continuation of the journey.”
Pope Francis concluded his address encouraging the SPC to courageously bring the reform to completion with an apostolic and missionary spirit, and asked there be a special regard and attention for situations of need, poverty and difficulty within the knowledge that they must be faced with adequate solutions:
“Let us resist the temptation of being attached to a glorious past; let’s all be team players in order to better respond to the new communication challenges posed by culture today without fear and without foreseeing apocalyptic scenarios.”
(from Vatican Radio)…
(Vatican Radio) The Holy See and Myanmar announced on Thursday their intention to establish diplomatic relations. The announcement came in the context of an audience Pope Francis granted the State Counsellor and Union Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar Aung San Suu Kyi.
Below, please find the full text of the statement from the Press Office of the Holy See
The Holy See and the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, keen to promote bonds of mutual friendship, have jointly agreed to establish diplomatic relations at the level of Apostolic Nunciature, on behalf of the Holy See, and Embassy, on the part of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar.
(from Vatican Radio)…