Celebration of all Christians on the Chin Hill of Hakha
The Episcopal ordination of Msgr. Lucius Hrekung was celebrated on Sunday, 2 February 2014. Present were Msgr. Germano Penemote, Counsellor at Apostolic Nunciature in Bangkok, 15 Arch/bishops, priests and religious and 4000 Catholics and Christians from other denominations.
Being a very rare occasion, all Christians from other denominations postponed their Sunday morning services and joined the celebration of the Episcopal ordination. This shows a good sign of the unity and harmony of the Christians on this Chin hill.
The main ordaining Bishop was His Grace Most Rev. Charles Bo of Yangon. He delivered the homily, and respecting the wish and custom of the people and place, it took 35 minutes. The following is the synthesis of his homily emphasized the journey of the Christians in Chin hills and their firm faith in this journey, and the need of the unity of all Christians.
Synthesis of the Homily
Given by His Grace Most Rev. Charles Bo, Archbishop of Yangon
At the Episcopal Ordination and Installation of Msgr. Lucius Hrekung, Bishop of the Diocese of Hakha on 2 February 2014, Hakha
- It is remarkable that Msgr. Lucius Hrekung, the new bishop of Hakha Diocese, was elected right after the Year of Faith. The history of Hakha diocese did not appear just yesterday or just by accident. But it has the history of 50 years of the journey of faith of the people. It is the history started by MEP and continues till today by the indigenous bishops, priests, religious and lay people. Msgr. Lucius is the fruit of this history, the 50-years journey of faith of God’s people living in this area of Chin ethnic people. Today’s celebration witnesses how the people carry on the flame of their faith to generation to generation.
- The journey of faith is never a smooth one. It is not like mathematics and cannot be calculated. It is a journey of placing one’s whole life in the hands of God, and seeking the face of Jesus in the joys and sorrows of the people. In this year, the Church in Myanmar is celebrating 500 years of its journey of faith in this land. Our forebearers gave their lives as they set the seed of faith on our land. During the dark period of nationalization, doors were closed to missionaries. We became weak, anxious and lived in fear as we shouldered the works of our missionaries. Yet, we re-strengthened ourselves trusting that God always gives the bridge of hope for us. In the history of the Church in Myanmar, we lost many things, but we hold our faith firmly.
- The motto of Msgr. Lucius is “Thy Kingdom come.” This is his faith-based map that he will walk as a bishop and at the same time, this is his prayer that he will be saying.
- The day of the Episcopal ordination of Msgr. Lucius is the day of joy and it is good news for all – Catholics, other Christians from other denominations, and Spirit worshippers who are living in Chin State. What is bad news? Division is a bad news. On 18 January 2014, Pope Francis said, “The division among us Christians is a scandal. There is no other word; scandal.” “Divisions only serve to weaken the credibility of the evangelization.” Just recently, Pope Francis also said about three things (meanings) concerning the Church – Catholic, Universality, and House of Harmony.
- Pope Francis gave an example: “We could compare it (Church) to family life; in the family we are given all that we need to grow, mature and live. We can’t grow by ourselves, we can’t walk by ourselves, isolating ourselves. People walk and grow inside a community, within a family.”
- The Church is Catholic because it is everyone’s Church. Our ethnic tribes – Chin, Kachin, Kayah, Shan, Bamar, etc. and other nations –Chinese, Indians, Americans, Europeans, all are one in the Church. The Church embraces all and no one is excluded.
- As Pope Francis said, let us ask ourselves. Do we live in harmony or do we fight? Is there gossip? If there is gossip, there is no harmony. Our divisions wound Christ’s body. Our witness to the world becomes weak and not credible.
- In this Chin State, there are many Christian denominations. Still many new Christian denominations are being founded. One is on the hill; the others at the foot of the hill or the other sides of the hill. There are so many Christian denominations here. These divisions do not fulfill the will of Jesus. This is giving a bad news to the people and to the world. It damages the sacred cause of preaching the Gospel to every creature. By nature, no one wants to give bad news. Let us embrace the family spirit and unity, and walk together. God can do it for us. Our dear Chin brothers and sisters, please do not found further new denominations. It hurts Jesus. It is a bad news. It divides the unity and solidarity of the nation.
Publisher: Archdiocesan Office, Yangon