Yangon (Agenzia Fides) - There are five priests, who already during the Jubilee of Mercy, in 2015, had received from the Pope the mandate to dispense God's forgiveness in the sacrament of Confession. Today, the team of five "missionaries of mercy" provides itinerant service in the parishes of the Archdiocese of Yangon, proclaiming the joy of forgiveness and welcoming hundreds of faithful in the confessionals or in the open air every day. Long lines of people wishing to approach the Sacrament of Reconciliation are visible in all the churches where the priests go, thus continuing the special "service of mercy" during Holy Week.
"In such a difficult time, marked by immense suffering, our people are in great need of the Father's consolation and mercy. In these days which prepare for Easter, the faithful seek and ardently desire His blessing embrace", explains to Fides Joesph Kung, layman of the Archdiocese of Yangon, recalling that in other parts of the country people continue to fight and suffer enormously.
In particular, in recent days, the diocese of Pekhon in eastern Myanmar has been affected by clashes and violence. It covers a mostly hilly and mountainous region, part of Shan State and part of Kayah State. Along with the dioceses of Loikaw, Hakha, Kalay and Mandalay, the diocese of Pekhon is among the territories most severely affected by the ongoing civil conflict.
As Father Aniceto Dereh, Vicar General of Pekhon, confirms in an interview given to Agenzia Fides on Palm Sunday, April 2, the village of Shimlaw, in the area of Pekhon, inhabited mainly by Catholics, was hit by army artillery fire. Several houses were damaged and a rocket fell near the Infant Jesus Catholic Church, killing two people.
Father Aniceto Dereh says: "In the city the situation is calm, but in the surroundings there are fights, clashes between the military, the popular defense forces and the ethnic militias. We are about to live Easter in the midst of violence and the only hope for us is to trust God. People are afraid, they tend to hide, we have fewer faithful in churches than in the past. Our Easter Triduum celebrations will be held, but they will certainly be shorter, due to the situation in which we find ourselves. We will pray intensely for peace. There is displacement and precariousness, and every day we ask ourselves, like the apostles in the Gospel: Lord, to whom shall we go? He alone is our refuge, our rock, our liberator". (PA) (Agenzia Fides, 4/4/2023)