Salesians in Burma celebrated 75 years of their presence in the country on 15th February 2014 at St. Joseph’s Parish [Lafon] in Mandalay. The Eucharist was presided over by the Archbishop of Mandalay, Most Rev. Paul Grawng, concelebrated by the Salesian Archbishop of Rangoon, Most Rev. Charles Bo SDB, and parish priest of St. Joseph’s in Mandalay, Fr. John Soe Tint, and many Salesian and diocesan priests.
At the invitation of Fr. Louis Lafon, the first group of Salesians arrived in Mandalay to begin their ministry at St Joseph’s parish and mission school in February 1939. The group consisted of Fr. Antonio Alessi the rector, Fr Ubaldo Bordin, two brothers: Dell’Aqua and Bongiorno, and two seminarians. The faithful in Mandalay were so excited to have a group of missionaries beginning a new mission in the spirit of St. John Bosco amongst them.
Since the Salesians had moved on, St. Joseph’s parish has been under the care of the Archdiocese of Mandalay for nearly forty years, yet the spirit of Don Bosco has been so strong among the parishioners. A Salesian priest working in Mandalay regularly goes to the parish to help out the parish priest and to work with young people.
Currently, there are 75 Salesians working with young people all over in Burma including Chin state, Kachin state and Shan state. The number of Salesian Sisters are also gradually growing while working alongside with priests and brothers.