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Myanmar Cardinal recommends forming true relationships as the first priority of the new bishop

Cardinal Charles Bo, Archbishops, bishops and priests after installation Mass (Photo supplied)

The president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Myanmar (CBCM), Cardinal Charles Bo, recommends the formation of true relationships as the first duty of the new bishop. 

The Myanmar Church leader was speaking at the installation of Bishop John Saw Yaw Han as a bishop of Keng Tung in the Immaculate Conception Cathedral of Keng Tung on December 14.

The cardinal urged the new bishop to focus on creating true relationships as the very first duty of the bishop.

He quoted the papal encyclicals that speak of relationships. Evangelii Gaudium on the proclamation of the Gospel in today's world talks about the relationship between God and human beings. Care for our common home (Laudato Si) is on the relationship between creation and human beings. Fraternity and Social Friendship (Fratelli Tutti) speaks of the relationship among human beings.

Cardinal Bo appreciated the priests, "I notice that priests know different languages, different cultures, and they are able to incorporate themselves into the people."

Bishop Yaw Han is a donum fidei priest who served from 1997-98 in the mission in Keng Tung Diocese, attached to Yangon Archdiocese. He was born in Homalin, Sagaing Division, but he was brought up in Yangon Region. He spent many years in the formation of seminarians to the priesthood.

"As he was posted in Keng Tung in 1997, Bishop Yaw Han had learned the language of Ahka since then." Father Carlo Aung Ko Latt of Keng Tung diocese said.

Cardinal Bo recalled the words of Bishop Yaw Han on his appointment, "Bishop is called to serve the Church anywhere with his abilities. Missionary means for every person, anywhere. With our love, our humility, and our service, everywhere is our home. Every person we meet is our relative."

The cardinal said, "Bishop Yaw Han is ready to accept all people."

Myanmar Church leader added that Bishop John is a writer who is educated in theological knowledge, and he is clever in management, which are necessary requirements for a Good Shepherd.

Quoting Pope Francis' words, "Shepherd needs to go to the sheep and return with the smell of sheep," the cardinal said, "it is very challenging to be a Shepherd today in our country.The Shepherds are to have not only the smell of the sheep but also the smell of the blood of the sheep."

Human trafficking, drug trading, and manipulation of youth are new forms of slavery in the area and reminded that "Keng Tung diocese is responsible for saving young people from the evils mentioned above."

"Young people may or may not come to the Church, but the Church must go to the young people. We are to stand together in unity, or we are to fall into destruction," the cardinal continued.

He invited all to "strive to reconstruct the broken land, the bloody land, the tearful land into a prosperous land. It is an occasion of the dawn of our future filled with hope," 

"May the expectations of the sheep in this diocese and their shepherd be fulfilled in the near future," Cardinal Bo said.

The late Bishop Peter Louis Caku died on February 20, 2020, and Father Peter Anwe served as diocesan administrator for three years during the bishop's vacancy.

“It was a difficult time, and we were like sheep without a shepherd,” the then-diocesan administrator recalled and pledged the collaboration of all to the new Bishop.

Msgr. Andreas, charge de affaires of the Vatican to Myanmar, said, “there are many who laid the seed of faith in Myanmar. Among them, Blessed Clemente Vismara, who had given his outstanding service in Myanmar Church, whose example we have to follow for the building of the kingdom of the Lord.

Bishop Yaw Han is the secretary general of CBCM and the President of the Episcopal Commission for Ecumenism.

“As a secretary general of CBCM, he really has to strive for Christian unity according to the word of the Lord that they may all be one,” Msgr. Andreas encouraged.

Bishop John Saw Yaw Han expressed his gratitude to all who participated in this occasion.

“We are different, but we are children of God. I come to serve,” Bishop Yaw Han said.

The Enthronement ceremony and Eucharistic celebration started at 8:00 a.m. on December 14.

Bishop Myat San of the Methodist Church in Yangon and Patrick Tuu Aung of Religion for peace were guests of honor. More than a thousand faithful took part in the ceremony.

The event was broadcasted live on the social media of CBCM-OSC, Radio Veritas Asia Karen Service, St. Francis Assisi Church in Yangon, and RVA Myanmar Facebook Pages.

56-year-old Bishop Yaw Han was born to U Joseph and Daw Mary Htoo on May 5. He has been a priest for 27 years and a Bishop for 7 years.

Pope Francis appointed Yaw Han as the bishop of KengTung on December 4, 2022, and the Installation of the Bishop was held on December 14, 2022. - by Hubert Saw, Sr.Lucia Thandar Aung, SJA and Marcus Nyi Nyi 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.