Franciscan Mission Opening in Myanmar

ROME, JULY 4, 2005 ( The Order of Friars Minor is opening a mission in Myanmar.

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Franciscan officials met in Bangkok, Thailand, on June 8 to begin preparations for the mission, reported the order’s General Curia.

Father Jimmy Yakit from the Philippines and two priests from Vietnam are scheduled to make up the first group that will set up the mission.

«The Franciscan presence in Myanmar will help the local Church through spiritual animation of the clergy and religious, and through pastoral animation,» the order said.

Father Yakit, president of the new foundation, went to Yangon, the capital of Myanmar, also known as Burma, to see the house which has been acquired on the outskirts of the city.

About 72% of Myanmar’s close to 48 million inhabitants are Buddhist, 12.6% are animist, just over 8% are Christian, and 2.4% are Muslim.

According to data provided last November by the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, there are 602,000 Catholics in Myanmar, in 12 dioceses.

They are served by about 500 diocesan priests, some 20 religious priests, close to 100 men religious who are not priests, and almost 1,400 women religious.

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