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Pope names new bishop of Pathein in Myanmar

Fr. Henry Eikhlein (Photo:

Pope Francis appointed Fr. Henry Eikhlein of the clergy of Pathein, Myanmar, who was previously diocesan administrator of the same diocese, as bishop of the diocese of Pathein, Myanmar, on May 31, according to Vatican sources.

The bishop-elect, Eikhlein, was born on June 23, 1960, in Painne Chaung, in the diocese of Pathein.

He obtained a bachelor's degree in psychology from Yangon University and later studied philosophy and theology at Saint Joseph’s Major Seminary in Yangon.

He was ordained a priest on March 11, 1989, for the Diocese of Pathein.

After ordination, he served as an assistant parish priest at Pathein Cathedral (1989).

He obtained a licentiate in theology from the Université Catholique de l'Ouest, Angers (1992-1994). Following monastic experience in France (1989-1990), England, Israel, and the Philippines (1994-1995), he was the parish priest of Theyetchaung, Pathein (1995-1997).

The 62-yar old priest was the rector of the minor seminary in Mayanchaung, Pathein (1996-1997), spiritual director (1998-2003), and then rector (2003-2009) of the major seminary in Yangon.

Eikhlein was the diocesan director of Caritas "Karuna" in Pathein (2009-2017); and coordinator of the diocesan socio-pastoral program (2018-2021).

Since 2021, he has been the diocesan administrator of the Diocese of Pathein. He has been a priest for over 34 years. 

The Pathein Diocese is in the far south of Myanmar, and the Bay of Martabin borders its long route. The majority of the Pathein Diocese is in Myanmar's delta. Directly within the Ayeyarwaddy Division lies the Diocese of Pathein.

Paddy fields and wetlands cover the diocese, which is crisscrossed by several rivers and creeks that run to the Bay of Bengal in the south. With a population of 5.9 million, the Kayin (Karens) tribe occupies most of the area.

According to Vatican sources, the diocese has about 64,108 Catholics spread over 36 parishes as of 2021. As many as 112 diocesan priests and 126 nuns serve the diocese.

On January 1, 1955, the Vatican created the Diocese of Bassein. On October 8, 1991, the name was changed to the Diocese of Pathein.

Meanwhile, Pope Francis has accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Mawlamyine, Myanmar, presented by Bishop Raymond Saw Po Ray.

Ray is succeeded by Bishop Maurine Nyunt Wai, until now coadjutor bishop. – Santosh Digal


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