Myanmar Archbishop Marco Tin Win of Mandalay offered mass with Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) on January 23. The prelate urged them not to lose hope and be cautious of viral news on social media.
Internally Displaced People (IDPs) have not crossed a border to find safety. Unlike refugees, they are on the run at home or in the home country and remain under the protection of their government, even if that government is the reason for their displacement.
Archbishop Tin Win told RVA News about why he visited the internally displaced people.
The prelate stated, “In one news, it stated that I went to IDPs’ camp to bless refugees. I went there not to bless them but to offer mass with them as I announced to every priest in the Archdiocese following the statement to preside one mass every Sunday for the peace of Myanmar. The day I visited was Sunday as well. It was meaningful to celebrate mass with them for peace.”
“I encouraged them with the Biblical passage and read out the CBCM’s statement for them. I told them that the Church is saddened, and I am here to be in solidarity with you in times of trouble and suffering,” archbishop Tin Win said.
The prelate invited the people to listen to two specific verses from the book of Psalm in the Bible: He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust” (Psalm 91:2) and It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in humans” (Psalm 118:8).
The archbishop urged the people “not to lose hope and faith as long as being still alive.”
“We are spiritually united with other IDPs in Chin, Kayah, Karen States, and other parts of our territory, and praying for their safety and protection of God,” the archbishop told the gathering.
Archbishop Tin Win visited residences of IDPs, offering food aids with the help of the recently formed Emergency Response Team.
“I feel so sad to see that they flee from their houses and cannot stay at their home as other people do. And the education of their children is hopeless. I sympathize with them,” archbishop confessed.
Archbishop exhorts Catholic faithful to “have faith in God and rely on Him.”
Archbishop Tin Win cautioned people “ not to immediately react to any news or post on Facebook without thorough assessment, especially not to curse or say bad words on Social media.”
“We are delighted when our Archbishop, like our parents, visits and encourages us in times of trouble. We cannot even find any word to express our gratitude to him. With great honor, we are grateful to him. We are proud of his visit,” said one of the IDPs.
A Catholic from the diocese of Loikaw said, “Archbishop of Mandalay cordially welcomed us like his Catholic faithful in his territory without discrimination not only in words but also in actions. We are happy and grateful to him.”
“The Archbishop is a good shepherd like Jesus. He is God’s gift for us. He is very kind and concerned about his sheep. Not only in this but also the Covid-19 pandemic break out, he tried to reach and meet with his sheep,” said a priest responsible for the emergency team.
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