Bishop of Myanmar's Loikaw diocese dies at 65

The Catholic bishop of the Diocese of Loikaw in Myanmar died on Wednesday, Dec. 16, after being in coma since Dec. 5. He was 65 years old.

Bishop Stephen Tjephe, who suffered from diabetes, had ruptured blood vessels in the brain due to a tumor that was operated on in 2018.

“We express our sincere condolence for his passing. It is a great loss for the diocese of Loikaw as well as for the Church of Myanmar," said Bishop Justin Saw Min Thide of Hpa-An diocese.

"He was surely respected and beloved ... particularly for his leadership, spiritual guidance, fatherly care, and as a good shepherd to the people of God in the Diocese of Loikaw,” added the prelate.

Father Francis Soe Naing, chancellor of Loikaw diocese, said Bishop Tjephe started to feel weak in October and had to slow down.

Bishop Tjephe was born on Aug. 1, 1955, and was ordained priest on March 28, 1984.

He was named auxiliary bishop on Nov. 21, 2009, and was later named chairman of the Episcopal Commission for the Clergy in Myanmar.

He was appointed Bishop of Loikaw on Nov. 15, 2014, and was installed on Jan. 11, 2015.

The funeral service for the later prelate will be held on Dec. 18 in the Christ the King’s cathedral in Loikaw. - Raymond Kyaw Aung / RVA News