ASIA/MYANMAR - More than 80,000 Catholics attend National Eucharistic Congress in Myanmar

Wednesday, 16 February 2005

Yangon (Fides Service) - More than 80,000 Catholics gathered for the 2nd National Eucharistic Congress of Myanmar held for three days, 11-13 February at a Marian Centre in Nyaunglebin, in the diocese of Yangon. Catholic clergy, religious, adults, young people, families and children from all 12 dioceses in Myanmar shared moments of reflection, catechesis, meditation, prayer, adoration and liturgy.
During the Congress Masses were celebrated in each of the main languages spoken in Myanmar. A special moment every day was Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. On 12 February some 80,000 Catholics from all over the country attended Mass presided by Archbishop Salvatore Pennacchio papal nuncio to Thailand and Apostolic Delegate for Myanmarnd several other Asian countries, concelebrated by 12 bishops, 160 priests. Other Christians were present and also non Christians interested in the Catholic faith and attracted by devotion to Our Lady of Lourdes and there is a shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes at Nyaunglebin.
A special message from Pope John Paul II for the occasion of the National Eucharist Congress read out at the beginning of the celebration, was greeted by warm applause. The message was addressed to Archbishop Charles Bo of Yangon who is President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Myanmar.
In his homily Archbishop Pennacchio reminded those present that the Eucharist is the source and summit of the life of the Church and of every individual Catholic. Encouraging all, Bishops, priests religious and laity to increase their love for the Eucharist, he said: “To you my Brother Bishops, I say, may the Eucharist continue to be the centre of our ministry: to you priests I say: may you live and witness the mystery of the Eucharist which you celebrate every day with the community entrusted to your care. (…) to you lay people I say, to catechists and young people especially: may the Eucharist be food to sustain you at times of difficulty in every day life (…). To you children I say: may you remember always that Jesus loves you and waits for you in the Eucharist where you can meet Him and talk with Him”.
The Bishops and the people of God in Myanmar lived the Eucharistic Congress with deep joy and devotion, experiencing ecclesial communion as they gathered around Jesus Christ present in the Blessed Sacrament. This was a very important event for the local Church, an event of grace for the entire Catholic community. This was the country’s 2nd national eucharistic Congress; the first was celebrated forty nine years ago in 1956, in the capital Yangon.
(PA) (Agenzia Fides 16/2/2005 righe 29 parole 298)