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Myanmar archbishop, nuns distribute foodstuffs to street vendors, lepers

Archbishop Marco Tin Win is giving chicken pilau rice to the street vendors on Christmas day. (Photo: RVA Myanmar Service)

The archbishop and nuns in the Archdiocese of Mandalay in Myanmar distributed foodstuff as Christmas gifts to the street vendors and lepers. 

Archbishop Marco Tin Win along with some Sisters of St. Joseph of Apparition (SJA) distributed chicken pilau rice to 100 street vendors including some lepers in Mandalay City on December 25 and 150 street vendors on January 1.

“Since I became a priest, I gathered lepers inside the Cathedral compound and offered meals on the tables like a party, pocket money, and gifts to them on Christmas day,” said the prelate.

At first, they felt shy and undeserved to have meals on the tables. Instead, they preferred to sit on the ground, he added. 

In addition, when he was appointed as Cathedral parish priest, he used to visit the prisoners in jail and give them Christmas presents and preside Mass for them, the prelate recalled.

“This year, we cannot celebrate Christmas with parties and expensive decorations. For this reason, I collected money to be spent for Christmas gatherings and adornments and donated to the poor,” said Archbishop Tin Win.

On December 28, the nuns also visited a hospital of the lepers in Ye Nant Thar village and gave Christmas gifts to 15 patients—14 of them Buddhists and only one a Christian.

“We are helping other refugees and those in need in various parts of the country throughout the year,” said an SJA nun.

Emily de Vialar (1797–1856), a French nun, founded the congregation on Christmas Eve in 1832. 

“Christmas is the birthday of our congregation, family Christmas, and community Christmas. For this reason, we continue to do a community charity together,” added the nun.

The nuns also distributed blankets, bottles of oils, rice-packs, and other materials to the parishioners in the Si Daw Gyi village in Mandalay Archdiocese, central Myanmar.

“Due to the pandemic and country’s present situation, it is not possible to go very far. We chose the places which were convenient for the elderly nuns as well,” A St. Joseph’s nun told Radio Veritas Asia. 

“We heard that Se Daw Gyi village is part of the most needed place. Moreover, the lepers in the hospital of Ye Nant Thar were expecting donors. They lack nutritious food and hardly anyone attends them. With sorrow and compassion, we went there and donated to them,” the nun continued. 

In Se Daw Gyi village, there are 15 Catholic families. They are under the responsibility of Sacred Heart of Jesus Cathedral parish, Mandalay. 

St Joseph nuns in the Mandalay Archdiocese have been providing basic food items such as rice, oil, and onions to families who have been struggling since the outbreak of the first wave of Covid-19. 

The nuns also coordinated with the leaders of other religions for donations.

By Patrick Soe Htun


Radio Veritas Asia (RVA), a media platform of the Catholic Church, aims to share Christ. RVA started in 1969 as a continental Catholic radio station to serve Asian countries in their respective local language, thus earning the tag “the Voice of Asian Christianity.”  Responding to the emerging context, RVA embraced media platforms to connect with the global Asian audience via its 21 language websites and various social media platforms.

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