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Myanmar: Catechist training center opens academic year amid the pandemic

Trainees in Catechist Training School (Photo by RVA News)

St Peter and St Paul Catechist Training Center in Yangon Archdiocese, Myanmar, opened its academic year on June 1 with Mass.
“We are grateful to God for being able to start the academic year for the catechists to be. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it was hard for the operation of the center in 2020 and 2021,” said Father Jerome Win Shwe Kyi, head of the institute. 
Although amid different challenges the training center operated with 12 persons in 2020 and with 8 persons in 2021.
This year 2022, with the ease of Covid-19, there are 19 trainees taking part in this academic year. There are 15 newcomers together with other 4 persons who have to complete their course this year. 
“The Church has a great expectation on these trainees who are to serve as catechists according to their capacity to wherever mission posts they are to be sent. We pray that this academic year-end successfully,” said Father Jerome.
According to the priest, there can be challenges regarding food and the way they relate with each other as they come from different ethnic groups with varied personalities and educational backgrounds.
The trainees must learn the Karen language and it would be hard for the different ethnic young people to learn. 
Relying on the divine grace and prayerful efforts, the trainees are to accomplish their academic year. They are expected to cooperate with the priests and nuns in their villages or their parish or diocesan centers after completion of their training. 
They are encouraged to make use of their stay and two-year training fruitfully. 
Since the training center bears the names of St Peter and St Paul, the trainees are to keep these two Church pillars as their models. As St Peter was eager to work, ready to rise after the fall, trainees are to be humble when they are corrected for their mistakes. 
With a touch of divine grace, a total change took place in the life of St Paul and gave up his life for the Church. He was in the wrong position before the knowledge about the Lord. After having been changed by divine grace, Paul changed his life for the Kingdom of God. 
Some of the trainees may be uneducated and short-tempered like St Peter. But they are to have the hearts like St Peter and be ready to rise from the fall. Some may be like St Paul, who will be serving eagerly after being formed by divine grace, said Father Jerome.
Some may be bright as St Paul and may be proud, maybe insolent in speech too. After the sound instruction and being in touch with the Lord, Paul changed for the better. The trainees are to gain a total change of life for the Lord, the priest added. 
Before the Covid-19 pandemic, apart from Yangon Archdiocese, participants for other Myanmar Dioceses—Mawlamyine, Hpa-An, Taunggoo, Pyay, and Lashio—took part in the two-year course of Catechist training. 
“The presence of the trainees provides the active participation in the liturgy of St Peter and St Paul parish,” said U Laury, the parish elder. 
Ma Catherine encourages the trainees to be close to the parishioners, especially in times of difficulties, and advises them to keep St John the Baptist as their model and have devotion to this Saint. 
“We thank the parents of the participants who generously let their sons and daughters undergo the training for the future service in the Church,” said Stephen Nyan Lin, the parish elder. - Sgaw Karen Service


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