Dear Brothers and Sisters, PAX!
I have just returned from Myanmar, where I visited the Dioceses of Yangon and of Hpa-An, which is our sister diocese. It was a life-changing experience, humbling and holy. It is one that I wish everyone in the Diocese could experience.
We were welcomed at the airport in Yangon by Archbishop Stephen. For two weeks, LeRoy, Nelson Win (from St. John’s, St. Paul), and I traveled, worshiped, and spent time with the clergy, bishops, and people of the Province of Myanmar. We shared meals, prayers, and retreat times. We compared notes about how we do things and I came home with plans for some new ministries.
We also visited the orphanage that we are supporting. It was very difficult to leave – the children held on to us, asking us to stay with them. They are so grateful that someone cares for them. We were able to be there as the foundation stone was laid for a building that the boys will be able to sleep in. They are currently sleeping in a tent, and Fr. Sunday, who runs the orphanage has given up his room to house some of the kids. He and his brother give everything, including their own food, to provide these 62 orphans a chance at a better life. It was a profoundly moving experience to see what is being done there in Christian love.
On the other side of this world, we met our brothers and sisters. Their lives are very different – their priests earn $45 per month. The conditions they live in are difficult. In many places there is no electricity or running water, and there is great poverty everywhere. And yet, they are very rich in what is important: their faith is strong and there is joy and overwhelming love. We have a lot to learn from them.
As soon as I got back, I formed a committee to organize our efforts to support and strengthen our relationship with the Province of Myanmar and the Diocese of Hpa-An. It is my hope that every parish in the Diocese of Quincy will contribute toward the support of these orphans and of Fr. Sunday and his family who care for them. It is also my hope that every parish will come together to support a priest and a parish in Myanmar and develop friendships with each other as we partner in sharing the gospel.
I thank the Lord Jesus for these people, who are our family. These Christians who we can learn from, pray for, share with, and work with spreading the Gospel.
3 John 5-8
Dear friend, you are being faithful to God when you care for the traveling teachers who pass through, even though they are strangers to you. They have told the church here of your loving friendship. Please continue providing for such teachers in a manner that pleases God. For they are traveling for the Lord, and they accept nothing from people who are not believers. So we ourselves should support them so that we can be their partners as they teach the truth.
Bp. J. A. Morales, OSB, DD