Myanmar Catholic Community in Singapore (MCCS) marked 25 years of existence with a two-day celebration at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in Singapore on February 11-12.
Bishop Maurice Nyunt Wai of Mawlamyine Diocese, Myanmar, led the one-day retreat under the theme of "journeying together" with the inputs, saying the rosary and Holy Hour adoration on February 11.
Cardinal William Goh Seng Chye of Singapore presided over the Jubilee thanksgiving Mass with Bishop Maurice Nyunt Wai, Monsignor Patrick Saw Zay Han and six other priests on February 12.
The cardinal encouraged the participants, "You need to be a good example of a Myanmar Catholic," and "You need to be conscious that not only you represent the church but also you represent your country. You are the ambassadors of Myanmar."
Cardinal Goh emphasized that evangelization can increase their faith, "We evangelize ourselves when we evangelize others."
The cardinal urged the Myanmar Catholics in Singapore, "I want you to go out and evangelize your own Myanmar community, not Catholics alone," because "there are many who are searching for God, but you also have a responsibility to your country and to the church as well."
Over 1400 participants and honorable guests from various congregations participated in this MCCS 25th year of existence event.
The Singaporean Cardinal praised MCCS for their effort, "In fact, this is the first time as a priest and bishop I've seen so many Myanmar present in one Mass as a community. This is truly a great joy. Suddenly, a recognition of the hard work that this community has put in."
The cardinal said, "And even as we celebrate the 25th anniversary, our prayers are with them [the people in Myanmar] and we pray for the situation in Myanmar will be solved sooner."
Bishop Maurice encouraged them to walk forward together by commending the relentless efforts of MCCS for their service for 25 years.
President of MCCS, Dr. Edwin Thet Naing, said, "MCCS prepared for this 25th-anniversary event five years ago." He expressed his gratitude to Cardinal William Goh, Bishop Maurice Nyunt Wai, and all the guests of honor.
Dr. Thet Naing has been a member since MCCS was established.
A participant and former member of MCCS from 2001 to 2015, Mr. Plureh from Pekhon Diocese, remarked, "MCCS improved very much if we compare with the time of beginning. Now the community is a well-organised community."
MCCS was founded on January 28, 1998, with 60 members at St Michael Church, with the Mass led by Father Andy Altamirano, the then Priest in charge of migrants.
MCCS celebrated Myanmar Mass every second Sunday of the month till 2006 and after that twice a month on the second and fourth Sundays at the Church of Immaculate Heart of Mary Church.
MCCS cannot omit the service of Father Peter Paul from Pekhon Diocese, Myanmar, Chaplain of MCCS, who arrived in December 2006 and served till December 2016, one month before he passed away.
On the request of Father Peter Paul, Father Francis Leong looked after MCCS in his absence celebrating the Mass - half in English and half in the Myanmar language until Father Joseph Kace from Pekhon Diocese arrived in February 2018.
MCCS was blessed to have Monsignor Patrick Saw Zay Han as he was posted to the Apostolic Nunciature, Embassy of the Holy See in Singapore, in July 2021.
MCCS functions under the guidance of the Archdiocesan Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People (ACMI). Many Myanmar people had attended courses in counseling conducted by ACMI.
Myanmar nuns – Sister Maria Goretti Dau Nyoi and Sister Matilda Aye Hla from the Religious Institute of Sisters of Saint Joseph the Apparition (SJA) arrived in Singapore in 2008.
Myanmar nuns are of great help in the mission, especially in counseling, among other activities like teaching catechism, leading home rosary devotion, and bible-sharing sessions.
MCCS has the mission to be a Catholic Community of faith and prayers, serving its members to grow together in faith, love, and service while away from home.
Migrationpolicy.org reported on January 18, 2017, in the article 'Labor Migration from Myanmar: Remittances, Reforms, and Challenges' by citing Myanmar's ambassador to Singapore, there were more than 200,000 Burmese living in Singapore. – By Htun Min Zaw (MCCS)
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