ASIA/MYANMAR - Catholic priests and religious at the forefront of the fight against the pandemic

Friday, 30 July 2021 pandemic   human rights   solidarity   healthcare   charity   covid-19  

Myitkyina (Agenzia Fides) - Burmese priests, religious and lay faithful are on the front line to provide medical care to people who have been infected by the Covid-19 pandemic, while the country has registered about 5,000 new cases of infection every day in recent days. In many dioceses the work of solidarity is very extensive and constitutes a precious contribution to the common good. As Agenzia Fides learned, the Health Commission of the diocese of Myitkyina, in northern Myanmar, has mobilized numerous Catholic volunteers, in this moment of real emergency. Sister Ann Rose Nu Tawng, the nun who knelt in recent months to stop the military, who has become an icon of non-violent protest, is among those who wore the gown and protections to conduct the anti-Covid test in the clinic run by the nuns. Sister Ann Rose and the nuns are welcoming the respect and gratitude of many families affected by Covid-19 and of the entire local population, for their dedication. "I am ready to give my life in the service and care of the needy and suffering. I pray intensely to the Lord to save and bless the people of Myanmar", the nun told Agenzia Fide. Among the various structures, the diocese of Myitkyina has organized a special health center for patients affected by Covid, which provides complete assistance, including the administration of oxygen, to the sick and their families.
"In Myanmar it is not enough for priests and nuns to be only of a good heart. There is a need for priests and nuns who offer themselves without reserve, giving themselves in the name of Christ, for a genuine service to their neighbor, because Christ makes himself present in his suffering brother", says Fr. Clemente to Agenzia Fides, from the diocese of Keng Tong.
The immense work of solidarity and material and spiritual sharing of the Catholic Church in Myanmar also emerges from the example of Fr. Marcian Thet Kyaw, parish priest in the Archdiocese of Yangon. The parish priest has opened a "Parish Covid Health Care" in his church dedicated to the Epiphany. The Center plays a very important role in Yangon by providing free Covid tests and offering first aid to the sick. Thousands of people in Yangon flock to the Catholic Center every day, which has become a symbol of the Church's commitment to health services for the needy. There are numerous doctors and nurses, Catholic and non-Catholic, who provide voluntary service. Given the strong need for beds, the Catholic Center has recently expanded to occupy another available space in the church complex. Although the supply of oxygen for hospitals is controlled by the military, hundreds of patients with Covid-19 receive oxygen in this parish center: thanks to the help of some donors, the parish priest managed to obtain 25 devices to provide oxygen to the sick.
Fr. Marcian Thet Kyawha declares to Fides: "I thank the Virgin Mary, Mother of Jesus: we turn to her, our Mother, every day, and we are receiving a lot of help from donors, thanks to the Providence of God. We place ourselves under the heavenly protection of the Virgin Mary to save so many patients and so many desperate families". Fr Marcian Thet Kyawha was also infected with Covid-19 and recovered. He now carries out his pastoral and social mission in assisting, consoling and accompanying, with material and spiritual help, the suffering. (JZ-PA) (Agenzia Fides, 30/7/2021)