Pope Encourages Christians in Myanmar

Sends Envoy to Cathedral Celebrations

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VATICAN CITY, DEC. 9, 2011 (Zenit.org).- For the 100th anniversary of the cathedral of Rangoon, Myanmar, Benedict XVI sent a message in Latin to his special envoy to the event, Cardinal Renato Martino, retired president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.

«The Metropolitan Church of Rangoon celebrates with gratitude and solemnity the 100 years of its cathedral church, dedicated to Mary Most Holy, which was consecrated in the times of Pius X, our illustrious predecessor,» stated the Dec. 1 message.

On Thursday, solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, «on the occasion of the happy day of the jubilee, in that cathedral see, the first built in the whole land of Myanmar,» the Holy Father noted, «a solemn celebration is being held» in gratitude of the faithful «to Almighty God for the very great benefits which for years he has been pleased to lavish on the whole ecclesial community.»

The Bishop of Rome spoke of sending an envoy, «so that he would be our voice there and manifest our esteem to Christians present there.»

Thus «we turn our thought to you, our venerable brother, who headed at another time the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and who know profoundly the joys of the faithful of this region and their difficulties,» the message continued. Benedict XVI asked Cardinal Martino to read his message in Rangoon during the solemn celebration of the centenary of the dedication of this cathedral church.»

«In that illustrious and solemn church you will preside over the Eucharist and, with your sermon, exhort all those present to the most diligent imitation of the life of Christ,» he said. It would be good if «they demonstrate with new strength and new solicitude their special love for the Church of Christ and for the Gospel, and shine with the daily virtue of faith.»

«We also beg you to transmit our greetings to all those gathered there, to the archbishop of the Metropolitan Church of Rangoon and to the other sacred pastors, to the presbyters, to the men and women religious, to the lay faithful to Christ.»

«Finally, we heartily desire that you extend words of our benevolence also to the civil and Buddhist religious authorities and to all who hold in special consideration the mission of the Church, the concept of religious liberty and the sincere good of the human person,» he added. The Holy Father concluded by imparting his blessing to Cardinal Martino, in order that he transmit it to all the participants in the celebration.

[Information written with texts translated from the Latin by Aurora Golderos]
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