Cardinal Charles Maung Bo, archbishop of Yangon, led the Mass during the 115th National Marian Celebration in Nyaunglebin, Bago region, south-central Myanmar.
In his homily, the prelate said that only Our Lady can unite people
of all races, religions, and languages in a country torn by bloody
ethnic and sectarian conflicts, victimising Rohingya Muslims in the
western state of Rakhine, and Christians in the northern state of Kachin
Addressing about 100,000 people of all religions, united by the same
devotion for Mary, the Myanmar cardinal stressed that the mother of
Jesus is the only one who can accomplish the "miracle" of national
For Card Bo this show of unity that defines the Marian pilgrimage is
"a rare occurrence" and that the peace "you are enjoying” today is not
shared across Myanmar.
Because of fighting in Kachin, Shan, and Rakhine, “more than 200,000
of our brothers and sisters are refugees in this land,” the prelate
“Neither the government nor the UN has been able to bring
together unity as our Mary has done today bringing us all to her centre
“This year we have gathered here to pray to our Mother in a special
way as the Queen of Peace. We need to pray to her that this country may
be more peaceful.”
“Many countries are at peace now. Cambodia is peaceful, Vietnam is
peaceful. Our country, with so many resources, has been at war for the
last 60 years – not with foreigners but with brother against brother.”
In response to the climate of conflict and violence, the Catholic
Church in Myanmar has decided to declare 2017 the "Year of Peace" and,
in this spirit, "we have come to celebrate peace” at the Nyaunglebin
The cardinal called on the faithful to set aside "concerns" and
"anxiety", which threaten to undermine the peace, not only in families
but also in society.
Let us "pray today as a Church in this holy shrine that the Queen of
peace may remove the anxiety in the minds of all armies, the government
and ethnic groups.
Lastly, the archbishop of Yangon listed Myanmar’s six "jars", which
can heal the wounds of the country and bring peace and coexistence. They
are – the spirit, justice, democracy, development, and reconciliation –
on the basis of which the country can be rebuilt, and the family united
in love, on the model of the Holy Family.
“Peace is the only way,” he stressed, “and peace with justice is
possible. Knock the doors of heaven. Let the Queen of Peace, our mother,
plead with her son that the emptiness of hope can be filled with the
wine of peace.”