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First blesseds for Myanmar

YANGON (AsiaNews): The Union of Myanmar is on the road to picking up its first saint with the announcement on December 10 that Isidore Ngei Ko Lat, a catechist from Shadaw, is to be proclaimed as a blessed.

“We are delighted to know that the first Burmese blessed will be Isidore Ngei Ko Lat. The Holy Father is close to Myanmar and this first blessed is the sign of Pope Francis and the Holy See’s love and attention,” Archbishop Charles Bo, from Yangon, said upon hearing the news.

However, he will not be entirely alone, as another servant of God, an Italian missionary, Father Mario Vergara, from the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME) is also on the list.

The two died on 24 May 1950. 

On December 9, Pope Francis authorised the Congregation for the Causes of Saints to promulgate the decree of martyrdom.

Archbishop Bo called it the most important event of the year.

Bishop Phamo Soter, from Loikaw and the son of a catechist, launched the cause in the diocese in 2003. He said that Father Vergara and his catechist are a source of encouragement for the whole community to live a faith more in line with the gospel and to witness in a brave and heroic way.

He added that the two were faithful even at the cost of dying, because of hatred for the faith and they ended up giving their lives for the gospel.

“This is the first Burmese blessed,” Archbishop Bo explained, “which is why the Church throughout Myanmar, but in particular the diocese of Loikaw, rejoices and celebrates a milestone on its journey.”

He added, “It is a first step, but many more have yet to be accomplished. We have many other martyrs in Myanmar, they deserve sainthood. And I will work hard to promote many more in the near future.”

The archbishop of Yangon concluded by saying that the celebration of the 500-year presence of the Catholic Church in Myanmar will conclude with a solemn ceremony on 23 November 2014, the feast of Christ the King.”

He said that on that day the Catholic people will take over the national football stadium and that he is 70 per cent sure that Pope Francis will respond positively to his invitation to be the guest of honour at the celebration.


“We want to tell all the dioceses and all the faithful, as well as the government about the 500 years of history of the Church in Myanmar,” he stressed.

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