Cardinal Bo compares Myanmar’s new archbishop to Irrawaddy river

Matters India reporter

Mandalay, June 24, 2019: Cardinal Charles Bo, archbishop of Yangon, has compared Mandalay’s new archbishop to Irrawaddy river, Myanmar’s endangered life line.

The cardinal, head of the Catholic Church in Myanmar, on June 23 consecrated Monsignor Marco Tin Win as the archbishop of Mandalay.

Cardinal Bo has been championing the people’s cause to save Irrawaddy river from the Myanmar military government’s indiscriminate development plans.

On June 8, the bishops’ conference in Myanmar, representing the country’s 16 Catholic dioceses, requested all the stakeholders to seriously reconsider the plan to build Myitsone dam in Kachin state which they said was an ill-conceived concept.

Mandalay city in central Myanmar is the country’s historic, cultural and Buddhist capital as well as the first Catholic diocese in Myanmar.

The cardinal was joined in the episcopal ordination by Archbishop Paul Tschang In-Nam, Apostolic Nuncio of Myanmar, Thailand and Cambodia, along with 18 bishops of Myanmar, as well as some 300 priests, religious men and women, and large number of faithful.
The four-hour program that started in the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart Mandalay was attended by an inter faith delegation consisting of Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus and representatives of several Christian denominations.

Also present at the function was a delegation of Don Bosco Past Pupils from Kolkata who were on India-Myanmar Friendship Mission and guests of the cardinal.

Explaining the historical context of the episcopal consecration, the cardinal compared the new archbishop to nation’s life line river saying, “Irrawaddy gratefully receives rain and springs from nature and gracefully gives to all – the life giving water.”

“I am reminded of the Irrawaddy river and its two qualities,” the cardinal explained saying, “she gratefully receives rain and springs from nature and gracefully gives to all – the life giving water.”

The cardinal continued, “From gratitude we move to grace, where Monsignor Marco is an erudite scholar, taught in many seminaries, an able administrator proving his worth both at the national and diocesan level. He is deeply spiritual, tasting both western and eastern spirituality, a man of reconciliation and harmony because he constantly works for interreligious harmony nurturing deep friendships with Buddhist monks.”

The first cardinal of Myanmar and the president of the Federation of the Asian Bishops’ Conferences further said, “In a country where religious extremism is rearing its ugly head, his [Monsignor Marco] presence will be of great national importance in peace making.”

The cardinal noted that the country also faced challenges to dignity of the poor and women through invading poverty. Other issues include threats to people’s livelihood and oppressive problems of drugs, human trafficking and extreme poverty, he noted.

The 71-year-old cardinal reminded the new archbishop, “Your major challenge is to strengthen the unity of the Church. Unity among the clergy, unity among religious, unity among the people… Even the early Church grappled with the problem of disunity and healed these difficulties with two processes — service and fellowship.”

“Healing of wounds and memories is a great task,” said the cardinal recalling that the heart rending cry of Pope Francis to the People of Myanmar given during the papal Mass in Yangon: “Do not wound, but heal one another. I urge everyone, before we can all break bread on the altar, break the bread of unity and reconciliation.”

The Portuguese missionaries brought Christianity to Myanmar in 15th century.

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