• Wartakanlah Injil kepada segala makhluk.
    Mrk 16:15

  • 你们往普天下去, 向一切受造物宣传福音
    谷 16:15

  • Everything is possible by the power of the Holy Spirit’s Grace.
    St Arnold Janssen

  • Segala sesuatu menjadi mungkin dalam kekuatan karunia Roh Kudus.
    St. Arnold Janssen

  • 我当传教士不是为主牺牲,而是上主给我的最大恩赐

  • Với sức mạnh Ân Huệ của Chúa Thánh Thần, Mọi việc đều có thể được.
    St Arnoldus Janssen

  • Preach the Gospel to the whole creation./Anh em hãy đi khắp tứ phương thiên hạ, loan báo Tin Mừng cho mọi loài thọ tạo
    Mk 16:15

  • There are many different gifts, but it is always the same Spirit.
    1 Cor 12:4

  • And the Word became flesh and lived among us.
    Jn 1:14

  • Let the word of Christ, in all its richness, find a home with you.
    Col 3:16

  • To proclaim the Good News is the first and greatest act of love of neighbour.
    St Arnold Janssen

  • 传扬天国福音是第一且最大的爱近人行动

  • Có nhiều đặc sủng khác nhau, nhưng chỉ có một Thần Khí/
    1 Cor. 14:4

  • 圣言成了血肉,寄居在我们中间
    若 1:14

  • Ada rupa-rupa karunia, tetapi Roh satu
    1 Kor 12:4

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Thursday, 27 February 2020 18:11

Kindness of people helps missionaries in Myanmar


Fr Mariusz Kubista SVD Myanmar Bible group 350The SVD AUS Province’s newest mission in Myanmar is continuing to unfold, as the missionaries get to the know the people, the language and the place.

The Divine Word Missionaries have been on the ground in Myanmar for almost two years now, following an invitation from Cardinal Charles Bo SDB to establish a Bible ministry in his Archdiocese of Yangon.

Myanmar is one of the poorest countries in Asia, with a population of 50 million people, so there are many challenges for the people.

The missionaries assigned to Myanmar for the SVD are Fr Tuyen Nguyen, Fr Devasagayam (Deva) Savariyappan and Fr Mariusz Kubista.

Fr Mariusz says the Bible ministry is the team’s main focus and long-term goal, although difficulty in learning the language can make for slow progress.

“It is obvious that knowledge of the language helps us to get to know the culture, human behaviour and habit. It is only when you know people, their way of thinking, that you can start to make real Bible ministry.”

As a result, he is spending a lot of time learning the Burmese language. He is also engaged in administrative duties.

Tuyen in Myanmar 450“Another important thing is trying to make our congregation known in the Diocese,” he says. “We have set up a website and we are going to post regular information about our activities, our congregation, as well as some brief reflections.”

Fr Mariusz says that although there are challenges, it is the time spent with the people that he loves the most about his new assignment.

“Their openness and kindness makes me think of nothing else but being with them,” he says.

“The language, the culture is not easy, and we really have to apply ourselves to not get lost in all of this, but the people’s openness and kindness is something we can really learn from them.”

Fr Tuyen says he arrived in Myanmar with lots of energy to work together with the other two SVD confreres in the small community.

“After six months of learning the local language (Burmese), the parish priest of the Sacred Heart of Jesus parish gave us a chapel in the countryside where we could live and practice the language,” he says.

For the time being, Fr Tuyen is living among the people, slowly learning the language, accompanying people with Sunday Masses and visiting them – Catholic and non-Catholic alike.

“Despite all the difficulties, I feel happy,” he says.

“I feel good being there because the people are simple, humble, cheerful, always with a smile on their face, and generous,” he says.

Fr Deva Myanmar 450“They are poor. Some families are very poor, but they offer you everything they have in their house. It is like the story from the Bible where the widow puts two small coins into the temple collection (Luke 21:1-4). That attitude encourages me to move on.”

Also serving in Myanmar is Fr Deva Sagayamphi who arrived in the country about six months ago.

He works a few days a week as a guidance counsellor and spiritual director at St Joseph’s Catholic Major Seminary in Yangon City which is a national institute of Theology for seminarians from all over Myanmar.

“Apart from my counselling and spiritual direction, occasionally I also give monthly recollections and seminars to the whole seminary (of about 100 seminarians),” he says.

Fr Deva says apart from learning the difficult tonal language, it can be challenging to get into the mindset of the seminarians coming from different tribes and cultures.

“All the same, it is interesting to come to know their way of life and learn from them,” he says.

“What I love is the affection and the cooperation of the people in our surroundings. Though many of them cannot speak or understand English, they are always ready and willing to help us in whatever way they can.”

Tuyen at Mass in Myanmar 450Many of the people are also keen to learn English and Fr Deva provides some English lessons for local people.

“It is a beautiful opportunity for me to engage in some sort of inter-religious dialogue with the learners as they are all Buddhists,” he says.

And, every Sunday, he leads a Bible sharing group with a group of 25 or 30 parishioners who come to the SVD house.

“I also join in the weekly Bible classes on Saturdays organised by the Archdiocese of Yangon at the Bishop’s House. If they ask me to share the Word of God, I do so gladly,” he says.

Sometimes the parish priest also invites the SVD confreres to join him on visits to houses in the village.

Fr Tuyen says that although the SVD presence in Myanmar is still in its infancy, he has great hopes for its future.

“A new mission is a new challenge. To start something new is to need time to adapt to traditions, culture, food, language,” he says.

“But let’s put ourselves in God’s hands and we will try with everything we have. I think that in the future the mission will be successful because ‘for nothing is impossible to God’ (Luke 1:37).”


TOP RIGHT: Fr Mariusz (far left) takes part in a Bible group.

MIDDLE LEFT: Fr Tuyen visits a family in Myanmar.

MIDDLE RIGHT: Fr Deva, pictured with local school children.

BOTTOM LEFT: Fr Tuyen at Mass in Myanmar.