A new convent of Franciscan Missionaries of Mary (FMM) in a remote village in Myanmar at the border of China was blessed on February 25.
Parish Priest Father Paul Awng Dang blessed the convent at Htang Nya village, Panghkak Church, Banmaw Diocese.
Explaining the initiation of the new convent, the priest said, “When we do the mission, we listen to what the people say. We observe what they want and need. Then, we start the mission.”
Church requested the Franciscan nuns to come and help the community from the initial stage of planning and the convent was built.
Father Awng Dang praised the FMM nuns, saying, “The Franciscan Missionary Sisters of Mary helped in the mission which priests are not able to do.”
The nuns helped in the formation of women and children. The parish is hoping to do more missions in remote areas of boarding China.
“We want to evangelize the people. Let them know about Jesus Christ. And so we are requesting the nuns to help us in this mission,” the priest said.
Father Awng Dang explained the urgent needs of nuns in the mission that Catholics of Panghkak village were baptized since long time ago but they do not know well about the Catholic faith due to the shortage of priests and catechists.
The priest continued, “Now, the population of the Catholics is increasing. Many of the new Catholics are migrants.”
According to him, the nuns are willing to help in the formation and development of the faith of the parishioners.
The people need access to education and communication, among other things. “So, we are discussing and planning strategies to help them,” said Awng Dang.
Sister Maria Jangma Hkawn San, the superior of the convent in Htang Nya village which is included in Panghkak parish said, “God is giving us the opportunities to help each other and we all have the responsibility to respond.”
“We (FMM Sisters) are doing our mission in Panghkak parish responding to the request of the Bishop Raymond Sumlut Gam of Banmaw Diocese, Father Awng Dang, and Catholics,” she continued. “We can do anything if we are together and we believe that we belong to God.”
During the Covid-19 pandemic, transportation, and communication were a challenge in the mission.
They cannot stay close to the people but still tried to help those who have no access to education, health, and even faith formation. The nuns tried their best to help the people.
Htang Nya village is located in Loi Je Township and is only a mile from the Loi Je Township. It is also located close to the China border. It is important for the missionary area. There are 70 Catholic families in Loi Je Township.
Today in Panghkak Parish, there are 514 Catholic families and 36 villages covered by the mission of the parish. Htang Nya village is one of these 36 villages.
The blessing of the new convent coincided with the centenary of Catholicism's arrival at Panghkak Parish.
In 1921, the Columban missionary priests arrived in Panghkak parish to start their mission.
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