Located in the war-like zone, Myanmar’s Hpa An diocese gears to prepare for the Synod of Bishops in Rome in 2023. The faithful are scattered in jungles because of the military coup since February 1, 2021.
The Hpa An diocesan official strives to reach out to people on the Thailand Myanmar border in refugee camps and illegal hideouts.
“It would be challenging to include all the people for the real success of the Synod due to the travel ban in the places where many Catholics live,” said Fr Nyan Htoo, secretary of Hpa-An diocese.
The preparatory committee in Myanmar’s Taungoo Diocese also share the same sentiment – the difficulty of including all people in the synodal process due to health and political crisis.
Nevertheless, Father William Htoo, Taungoo diocesan secretary, says that amid different kinds of difficulties, the diocese will carry on the synodal activities till its completion.
Under the directives of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Myanmar (CBCM), local dioceses have organized contact persons and teams to carry out the synodal process.
The major synodal questions are available online of the people of Myanmar. Among the questions, there are four questions for non- Catholics brethren. As of now, most dioceses hold synod preparation meetings via Zoom video conferencing.
The CBCM invites all parishes, religious congregations and different associations to participate in the synodal process.
Myanmar’s Yangon archdiocese inaugurated the synodal process on October 17. Yangon archdiocese hops that each parish will be well-informed about the Synod by the end of December 2021.
Myanmar faces difficulties to meet and discuss due to political crisis. People in remote areas lack communication facilities, and even some living in the cities cannot afford devices to meet via Zoom.
“It would be a challenge for the hundred percent success of the synodal process,” said a priest on the condition of anonymity.
Myanmar, Mawlamyaine Diocese began its Synod journey similar to Yangon Archdiocese by appointing two priests as contact persons for all the people and parishes in the diocese.
By August 15, 2022, the dioceses worldwide will submit proposals and information to the Vatican office in charge of the synod.