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Socio-Pastoral Formation Centre serves as ‘Heart of Kachin State’ in Myanmar

St. Luke's College, Socio-Pastoral Formation Center at Edin Parish, Myitkyina, Myanmar (Photo credit: St. Luke's College website)

St. Luke's College of Socio-Pastoral Formation Center, formerly St. Luke's catechetical school, plays a vital role in producing catechists and good leaders for Kachin State, Myanmar.

The catechists play an essential role at the grass-root level of the Church Mission, especially where there are not enough priests and religious.

The college is one of the Catholic education schools in Myanmar for the Lay people to promote their knowledge of the Faith, the Bible, the socio-pastoral, and the Church.

Thus, St. Luke's College can be called the 'Heart of Kachin State' for the Church Mission in Myanmar.

St. Luke's College of Socio-Pastoral Formation

St. Luke's College has been established on 21 acres of land owned by the Edin Parish, Myitkyina Diocese, which Duwa Johny Kareng La donated.

The college is to cultivate and support those who want to go for missionary work as catechists and to become good leaders.

It was extended from St. Luke's Bible School (formerly St. Luke's catechetical school) to St. Luke's College Socio-Pastoral Formation Center in 2014.

As a school, it was established in Nahlaing village, Banmaw the then Myitkyina Diocese) in 1939 by the Irish Columban Missionaries Priests, and then, in 1947, it was moved to Banmaw town.

In 1957, the Columban Missionary Priests, Father Bernard Hwe, Father Francis Zukdaw Lum Dau, Father Paul Lasang La, Pastor Tsumhpawng Ja Li, and Pastor Felix Lum Ji, shifted the school to Tanghpre Parish in Myitkyina Diocese in the monastery's vicinity.

Due to the political situation in the village, the school was moved to the present location of Edin in 1978.

When the school was opened at Edin Parish, Father Gregory Lazum Naw Din, Pastor Peter Tsumhpawng Ja Li, Pastor John Nlam Gam Li, and Duwa Johny Kareng La led and took part in the school.

Duwa Johny Kareng La donated the land for the Parish Compound and the school.

Bishop Francis Daw Tang of Myitkyina Diocese appointed Father Leo Gopal as the Rector of St. Luke's College in 2013 and then taught at a higher level.

Father Leo, Rector and Parish Priest of Edin Parish, shared, "Our main purpose is to support and teach those who want to be leaders and work in religious works. Now and then, we continue to strive for a higher level than before. This is because, according to the Pope's Paul VI words, as (Social of the time) social media has become more modern, and it is necessary to keep up-to-date with the times when doing religious activities."

Students from Myitkyina, Banmaw, and Lashio Dioceses and some Kachin ethnic people who will go for religious work in Thailand are studying at St. Luke's College.

Currently, 40 to 50 students are accepted per year. The Joint Diploma in Socio-Pastoral Formation program is two years covering faith formation, personality development, and Catholic Social Teaching.

The college provides Socio-Pastorals subjects related to human development and religious activities.

The Rector of the college insisted, "A student who will perform religious service must love the religious service. We are supporting and teaching in order to carry out religious activities according to the attitude of an apostle who is a follower of Jesus."

The college provides spiritual input to the students from the time of getting up to going to bed at night.

It teaches how to start and maintain the attitudes of the students.

An alumnus of 2018, Catechist James Yaku Myu Lat, 32, serving in Tanghpre parish, said, ", He got a good education, faith, and social relationships from St. Luke's College. He could improve his mind and attitude due to the knowledge from the college."

In 2014, St. Luke's College began in partnership with the East Asian Pastoral Institute (EAPI) in the Philippines, run by the Jesuits in the Philippines.

The Jesuit Missionary Group of Myanmar is also helping the college socially.

The college professors are priests, nuns, religious brothers, and laypeople.

The college produced about 200 alums from 2014 until now, and they are taking practical responsibility for religious activities by the time. Most of the alums are helping in the Parishes and Dioceses.

With the advancement of modern times, the students who will come and receive education must also be at a higher level.

The college's new dormitory is under construction and will accommodate about 300 to 400 students.

After constructing the new dormitory, the school aims to provide education according to the student's academic qualifications.

Father Leo remarked, "Nowadays, most of the young people are lost because they don't know where to go and what to do. Through the teaching of this college, he will be able to serve the people as a faithful Christian and a good person." - By Zau Jat Aung


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