Cardinal Charles Bo, Archbishop of Yangon, on June 23, 2019, presided over the consecration of Bishop Marco Tin Win as the archbishop of Mandalay.
It was the Feast of Corpus Christi, which he said was “Great significance and holy coincidence.” And he referred to incoming Archbishop Marco as “an erudite scholar, taught in many seminaries, an able administrator proving his worth both at the national and diocesan level. He is deeply spiritual, tasting both western and eastern spirituality, a man of reconciliation and harmony because he constantly works for inter-religious harmony. He has nurtured deep friendships with the Buddhist monks.
“In a country where religious extremism is rearing its ugly head, his presence will be of great national importance in peacemaking. Mandalay is a blessed diocese but also faces great challenges: challenges from fundamental groups, challenges to dignity of the poor and women through invading poverty, challenges to our people’s livelihood and other oppressive problems of drugs, human trafficking, and extreme poverty.”
Following is the Cardinal’s Homily:
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Warm Welcome in the name of Jesus, the loving, living and liberating God.
Today is a historic day for Mandalay. A joyous day. This is the day of annunciation and visitation. Annunciation of God’s gift and visitation of the whole church of Myanmar to Mandalay Archdiocese.
Mandalay is the historic capital of Myanmar. The history of Myanmar is intertwined with this historical city. On this citadel of glorious history, we have gathered here to witness the church history being made. His Grace Archbishop Marco Tin Win will be consecrated to be the shepherd of this historic diocese. Welcome to this unique blessing of a joyous occasion. It is the Lord’s day. It is the fulfillment of his promise f grace.
Today is the feast of Corpus Christi. Great significance and holy coincidence.
Saint John Paul developed theology of Body based on this feast. We are part of Christ’s body. Christianity is about belonging to the great mystical body of Christ. We have come to celebrate unity today in the name of Christ. I am so glad for the extraordinary blessing of consecrating His Grace Marco Tin Win. He has taken the motto: All for you. Yes. God gave him life, God gave him priesthood, today he calls him to be His Shepherd. This is the moment of Pentecost to the Mandalay diocese. Let us be united in the Body of Christ, inspired by the Holy Spirit and have the generosity to offer everything to HIM, God. St Paul calls every bishop to be the head of the diocese uniting everyone in Christ.
As we stand here I am reminded of the Irrawaddy River and its two qualities. She gratefully receives rain and springs from nature and gracefully gives to all – the life-giving water. Like the river, we are to be grateful. Gratefully receive and Gracefully give! We are to see what are we grateful and what are the graceful gifts we give.
We are grateful to the outgoing Archbishop His Grace Nicholas Mang Thang. He was a tower of strength during the last five years. An erudite scholar, His Grace read the diocesan needs and helped in the reconciliation and unity of the diocese. It was never an easy task. But his faith and confidence made that herculean task look easy. His love for nature, his ability for meticulous planning and his deep spiritual strength was a God-given blessing to this diocese. As he takes a well-deserved rest, we accompany him with our love and prayers. I am sure his vast experience is of use to the national church.
Our heart goes to the simple shepherd His Grace Paul Grawng. Retirement has made him younger, faster and more joyous. Like Pope Francis, the Archbishop led by his humble witness. His kindness and warmth and his deep spirituality fortified this diocese. Both were missionary bishops, lived among many challenges. These two are God sent gifts to Myanmar Church. We pray for long life and happy emeritus saga.
From gratitude, we move to grace.
Our Lady was greeted by the Angel: Hail Mary full of Grace. She was full of Grace because she was filled with the Holy Spirit and also she was called to a mission of being the mother of Jesus. Today we can call this moment: Msgr. Marco, this is the moment of Grace, because this consecration is a call by God for a mission. Grace and Mission!
We can boldly say today: Msgr. Marco, the Lord is with you in your mission. You are chosen after long discernment. Msgr. Marco is an erudite scholar, taught in many seminaries, an able administrator proving his worth both at the national and diocesan level. He is deeply spiritual, tasting both western and eastern spirituality, a man of reconciliation and harmony because he constantly works for inter-religious harmony. He has nurtured deep friendships with the Buddhist monks.
In a country where religious extremism is rearing its ugly head, his presence will be of great national importance in peacemaking. Mandalay is a blessed diocese but also faces great challenges: challenges from fundamental groups, challenges to dignity of the poor and women through invading poverty, challenges to our people’s livelihood and other oppressive problems of drugs, human trafficking, and extreme poverty.
All these are like burning bushes. Like Moses was called to respond to God’s call through the burning bushes, Msgr. Marco is called to face historically challenging problems. It is easy to feel diffidence and lack of self-trust but Moses was given the assurance by Yahweh: I will be with you always. It is with God’s promise dear Fr. Marco, you enter into the long journey of spiritual and social salvation of our people.
Holy Father Francis calls you into this service of leadership. For him, authentic leadership is always Service. Like Jesus who washed the feet of his disciples before the last supper, a bishop is called to humble servant leadership. Promote the well being of all.
And this servant leadership is bestowed on you on the feast of the Corpus Christi. After the great feast of Easter, Ascension, Pentecost, and the Trinity, the church brings in Corpus Christi feast as the crown and culmination of the great church feasts.
The Church used to be compared with many metaphors: the bride of Christ, the pilgrim, the militant church, etc. but the best comparison St Paul gives to the Church is Body -the Body of Christ. To be consecrated on this day is a great grace. The Diocese is the Body of Christ. You are the head. People are various parts of the body. Give them Christ.
The theology of Corpus Christi is articulated by St Paul. Later St John Paul II would develop it further. In his first letter to Corinthians chapter 12, St Paul beautifully brings in the image of a body – WE ARE ONE IN CHRIST. FOR IN ONE SPIRIT, WE WERE BAPTIZED INTO ONE BODY. This is the core understanding of the Catholic church. Yes, our baptism makes us members of Christ’s body. St Paul says all of us may be different but we are all PARTS of the same body. “ AS a body is one, though it has many parts, all parts of the body, though many are one body”. This is the core message of Corpus Christi feast too. Unity is the first message. The diocese may have diversity but unity in diversity is our task.
The theme of Eucharist is thanksgiving. This is the next message of Corpus Christi.
So from this moment Msgr. Marco, you are called upon to the twofold task: UNITY AND THANKSGIVING. For any Bishop, these are great challenges. You need our prayers and God’s Grace. Unity and thanksgiving are the two eyes of an episcopate. Let them become good news in the diocese. Let everyone be one in heart and mind. For everything let them give thanks.
Your major challenge is to strengthen the Unity of the Church. Unity among the clergy, unity among religious, unity among the lay people. Power corrupts the Christian Conscience. When Christianity started, the non-Christians admired how the Christians lived “ONE IN HEART AND ONE IN MIND”. They shared everything. This unity was the greatest evangelizing force. “ They know you are my disciples, love one another.” Even then the early church grappled with the problem of disunity. But the church healed these difficulties with two processes: Service and fellowship.
This will be a great challenge. How the servant leadership can be exercised at all levels: archdiocesan level, at the parish level, at every village level, at every religious congregation level. The ministry of priesthood and Eucharist is at the core of the Corpus Christi. Healing of wounds and memories is a great task. I wish to recall the heart-rending cry of the Pope to the People of Myanmar given during the Papal Mass in Yangon: Do not wound, but Heal one another. I urge everyone before we can all break bread on the altar, break the bread of unity and reconciliation.
This country was wounded by mutual hatred, unable to solve problems for the last six decades. This is an opportunity of Mandalay Church to be a witness to peace and Unity, proving to this country that we can live together. This is the call to evangelization.
This is the first task of the new Archbishop. He needs our prayers. On his part, Pope Benedict once said that a bishop leads not by his LIPS but by his LIFE witness. Every bishop is called for a life of holiness, exercising power for healing and uniting.
In this Christ is your model. Christ always prayed for the unity of the disciples: “ That they all may be one – as You, the heavenly Father and I are one “
The second task is to develop a culture of gratefulness, thanksgiving. St Paul urged the first Christians: Always be grateful. Rejoice always. St Teresa Of Avila said: “ some miracle happens when you are grateful: you receive more blessings. When we are grateful to everything, everything becomes a blessing. Gratefulness is a grace: Pope Francis said: “Gratefulness is the flower that blooms in the noble soul”. Gratitude gives us nobility.
I think there are many blessings Mandalay diocese can be grateful:
Blessings of the Mandalay Archdiocese
- Mother Diocese of the whole of Myanmar– Our Catholicism can be traced to the 15th and 16th century. We have started our faith Journey in Syriam with the evangelization by Portuguese missionaries. We have also seen martyrdom and when persecuted we walked hundreds of mile to settle in our present areas. Some of our first kith and kin were killed for their faith. Our faith became fortified by blood and tears. But we have carried on for centuries and are like a light set on the mountain for all the Christians.
- To the Buddhist brothers and sisters, the first exposure to Christianity came through our example. Our faith is also the cause for widespread evangelization and many daughter dioceses were born out this. Mandalay is the mother diocese. More than five dioceses were divided from Mandalay.
- The enormous number of religious and priestly vocations from this diocese and the presence of so many congregations amidst us is a great opportunity for evangelization.
- The dioceses that are strategically situated in the center of Myanmar with the confluence of various cultures and the trade routes. The opportunity to become a visible presence of three-fold dialogue: with the poor, with the culture and with religions. The bishop-elect has a charism to deal with respect and regard with the other religions.
The mission is waiting for the new archbishop with many challenges
Every challenge is an opportunity. Mandalay diocese is a very special diocese. Waiting to welcome you not only with the blessings but challenges. I know Your Grace Marco, you have the spiritual energy to change every challenge into a blessing.
- Eucharist centered Church: Unity in Mission is the challenge. That comes through meaningful Eucharist every day. Christ prayed : “That they may be all one (John 17:21) Various efforts need to taken to foster the unity as ‘friends in the Lord’and ‘ Fellowship in Mission” Stressing on the Unity of the faithful, Pope Francis turned to the Gospel, where Jesus calls on His disciples to “Remain in my love.” We do this, the Pope said, especially by remaining close to Jesus, present in the Holy Eucharist in the tabernacle; and in the “many living tabernacles who are the poor.” Jesus, asks us “to remain in Him, not in our own ideas.” Remember there is only one mission: Missio Dei. Not individual missions.
- Mandalay: Evangelizing Missionary Church: Christ envisaged our primary mission as evangelization. ( Mt: 28:18-20). Pope Paul VI said, “Church Exists to Evangelize”. In our encounters with Pope Francis, we reflect on how far is our Myanmar church is a missionary church. Most of our problems can be traced to a lack of spiritual vibrancy and active missionary approach. As the oldest Catholic Population, we are called upon to move from maintenance church to missionary church. Make every Mandalay Catholic as the evangelizer. Let every Evangelized become the Evangelizer.
- Integral Human Development of the people: Poverty of our Catholics is very high. That has forced our youth to leave their homes. Youth is a frustrated generation becoming victims to frustration and substance abuse. Pope Francis is the Pope of the youth. His eagerness in the development of the People made him form the very important Dicastery of Integral human development. IHD. In one of his sermons, he said, “ Human development is the new name for evangelization. Developing youth through education, skill development, and value education is a vital need for the diocese of Mandalay. We have national planning on developing youth, poor and women.
- Inter-Religious dialogue:: Some years ago, Mandalay division was rocked by religious violence. The region is a risk-prone area for religious violence. With the great experience of the Bishop-elect to promote peace according to the Five agenda of the Nation Building Program: Inter-Religious initiatives for Peace
Msgr. Marco as we enter into the consecration, we have given you the path that is both a blessing and a challenge. We are grateful to all our bishops and priests and religious and the faithful who are with us today. Their presence is a guarantee that they will pray for you and for your new mission.
Always remember: You are not consecrated by human hands It is Jesus himself who chose you to this lofty status. Your journey starts today. More than anything you need our prayers and strong faith.
Let me end with the extraordinary words of Pope Francis when he met the new bishops :
This is important: Jesus believes in you more than you believe in yourselves. Jesus loves you more than you love yourself. Seek him out of yourself, on the way:
He awaits you. Yes. It is not the human being who is your guide. It is the Lord and Master: Jesus Christ.
Thank you. And God bless.