ASIA/MYANMAR - The Lenten charity of Burmese Catholics

Thursday, 2 March 2023 lent   caritas   charity  

Yangon (Agenzia Fides) - During Lent, Catholic communities collect donations for displaced people and those living in poverty in the forests, victims of the ongoing civil war in Myanmar. "In the Catholic churches of Myanmar," reports Joseph Kung, a lay Catholic from Yangon, "during Lent there is an envelope that says: You can practice fasting and donate the equivalent of your meal for the poor, for refugees who are struggling to survive". These days the churches are full and there are many people going to church to receive the sacrament of confession. In returning to God is the hope of our people, even as violence continues in many parts of the country."
Donations to those in need are an integral part of the believer's journey at this time. The donations go to Caritas Myanmar, known as 'Karuna Mission Social Services', the relief agency of the Burmese Bishops' Conference. "Karuna uses the money for the poor and marginalized, but also for other solidarity initiatives such as those for the earthquake victims in Turkey and Syria," says Kung.
"Karuna" is organized in the diocesan offices and works in "service to the people", without distinction of faith, culture or ethnicity. Today, the aid organization tries "to enable the poor and weak to lead a decent life, concentrating above all on securing their livelihood and distributing essential goods to the displaced".
At a time marked by suffering and unrest due to the social and political situation, the Yangon community also experienced a moment of joy in recent days as they celebrated the 50th priestly jubilee of Fr. Nereus Mg Mg, a long-time missionary, engaged in pastoral service in the remote area of Laikpotegone, a village of humble farmers. Kung concludes: "The whole community gathered around the 80-year-old priest, who is an example of a life dedicated to mission. This celebration was a small sign to remind us that God is always with us in all circumstances". (PA) (Agenzia Fides, 2/3/2023)