The Diocese of Pathein in Myanmar named Father Henry EiKhlein as its new diocesan administrator on Wednesday, August 11.
The appointment was made following the vacancy of the episcopal see after the death of Bishop John Hsane Hgyi in July.
“I accept this mission as a continuation of the works that have been done by my bishop,” Father Eikhlein told Radio Veritas Asia. “His vision and mission will be continued by our collective team,” said the priest.
“I did not expect this would happen this way,” he said, adding that he was “very much saddened by the death of Bishop Hsane Hgyi.”
Members of the clergy in the diocese welcomed the appointment of Father Eikhlein.
Father James Eishu said the appointment would help in the “smooth functioning” of the diocese in the absence of a bishop and during “this time of crisis.”
Myanmar has been facing a surge in coronavirus cases in recent weeks.
Father Jeremy Nyi Nyi Htun described the new administrator as “patient, kind, and a good listener,” adding that "everybody can approach him freely and talk to him openly.”
Father Eikhlein was born on June 23, 1960, and was ordained priest on March 11, 1989.
He did his licentiate in Sacred Theology at the Universite' Catholique de L'Ouest Angers in France from 1992 to 94.
He was assistant priest in the Cathedral parish of Pathein from March 1989 to June 1989 and in the parish of Theyetchaung from May 1, 1996 to April 30, 1997.
He served as rector of the Minor Seminary in Mayanchaung, Pathein, from May 1, 1997 to April 30, 1998, and spiritual director in the Major Seminary in Yangon from May 15, 1998 to March 27, 2003.
He also served as rector of the Major Seminary in Yangon from March 18, 2003 to March 31, 2009.
He was appointed director of Caritas in Pathein from April 7, 2009, to December 18, 2017, and a coordinator of the Diocesan Socio-Pastoral Program from December 19, 2017, until now.
The Diocese of Pathein is composed of 36 parishes located in the Ayeyarwaddy Region in the Delta area of Myanmar.
The civil Population of the region is at 6,864,623 with 61,217 Catholics.
There are over 100 priests, six religious congregations with 53 men and 130 women religious, and 124 catechists in the diocese. - Raymond Kyaw Aung / RVA News