Yangon (Agenzia Fides) - By God's grace, "the Church in Myanmar has inherited a solid faith and a fervent missionary enthusiasm from the work of those who brought the Gospel to this land". And today's Burmese Bishops, successors of the apostles, in order to conform to the same missionary "participation" are primarily called to recognize that their first task is prayer. This is what Pope Francis recalled in his speech addressed to the 22 members of the Bishops' Conference of Myanmar, received at the Archbishopric of Yangon, late Wednesday evening, 29 November. The Pope referred to the Acts of the Apostles when he highlighted the call to prayer as the "first task" of the Bishop: "When the first Christians received the complaints of the Hellenic Greeks because their widows and their children were not well guarded", said Pope Francis "the apostles gathered together and invented the deacons. Peter announces this news and there he announces the task of the bishop by saying: for us prayer and the proclamation of the word. Prayer is the first task of the bishop. Every evening each of us Bishops will have to reflect on: "How many hours did I pray today?"
The food for thought that Pope Francis offered to Burmese Bishops were articulated around three words: healing, accompaniment, and prophecy. "The Gospel that we preach", the Successor of Peter recalled, "is above all a message of healing, reconciliation and peace. By the blood of Christ on the cross God reconciled the world to himself, and sent us to be messengers of that healing grace. Here in Myanmar, this message has a special resonance, given that the Country is committed to overcoming deeply rooted divisions and building national unity". The Catholic community in Myanmar - recognized Pope Francis - "can be proud of its prophetic testimony of love for God and neighbor, that expresses itself in its commitment to the poor, those who have no rights and above all in these times, for so many displaced people who, so to speak, lie hurt at the edge of the road".
Earlier in the afternoon, during the meeting at the Kaba Aye Center with the members of the Supreme Sangha Council of the Buddhist Monks, the Bishop of Rome had expressed "esteem for the all those in Myanmar who live in accord with the religious traditions of Buddhism.
Through the teachings of the Buddha, and the dedicated witness of so many monks and nuns", said Pope Bergoglio, "the people of this land have been formed in the values of patience, tolerance and respect for life, as well as a spirituality attentive to, and deeply respectful of, our natural environment". Pope Francis also confirmed the availability of the Catholic Church to greater cooperation with Buddhists and other religious communities in promoting justice and peace in Myanmar, hoping that Buddhists and Catholics can "walk together along this path of healing, and work side by side for the good of everyone who lives in this land". (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 29/11/2017)