Your Faith and Enthusiasm Are a Welcome Sight, Pope Tells Burmese Youth

Last edited 30th November 2017

Your Faith and Enthusiasm Are a Welcome Sight, Pope Tells Burmese Youth

The Catholic young people of Burma are “a welcome sound” of encouragement, Pope Francis told them Thursday at a Mass said at St. Mary's Cathedral in Yangon.

“Dear young people of Myanmar … you are a beautiful and encouraging sight, for you bring us ‘good news’, the good news of your youth, your faith and your enthusiasm. Indeed, you are good news, because you are concrete signs of the Church’s faith in Jesus Christ, who brings us a joy and a hope that will never die,” Francis said Nov. 30 in the largest city of Burma (also known as Myanmar).

The Pope's Mass with Burmese youth comes at the conclusion of his visit to the country, where he arrived Nov. 27. He also met with government officials, religious leaders, Buddhist monks, and the country's bishops. The previous day, he said Mass in Yangon's Kyaikkasan Ground, attended by much of the country's Catholic population. From Burma, he will continue on to Bangladesh before returning to Rome.

“As my visit to your beautiful country draws to a close, I join you in thanking God for the many graces we have received in these days,” he stated.

“Some people ask how it is possible to speak of good news when so many people around us are suffering? Where is the good news when so much injustice, poverty and misery cast a shadow over us and our world?”

In the face of this suffering, he said it is important that the Burmese youth “are not afraid to believe in the good news of God’s mercy, because it has a name and a face: Jesus Christ. As messengers of this good news, you are ready to bring a word of hope to the Church, to your own country, and to the wider world.”

“You are ready to bring good news for your suffering brothers and sisters who need your prayers and your solidarity, but also your enthusiasm for human rights, for justice,” and for Christ's love and peace.

The Pope's words about solidarity, human rights, and justice come as international attention on Burma is focused on the Rohingya, a predominantly Muslim ethnic minority who have been denied citizenship and who face general persecution in the Buddhist-majority country. In recent months, more than 600,000 Rohingya have fled the country for Bangladesh amid state-sponsored violence against them.

At the same time, Pope Francis challenged his listeners with three conditions of salvation given in St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans which was proclaimed at the Mass, and which ask us “to think about our place in God’s plan.”

“In effect, Paul asks three questions, and I want to put them to each of you personally,” he said. “First, how are people to believe in the Lord unless they have heard about him? Second, how are people to hear about the Lord unless they have a messenger, someone to bring the good news? And third, how can they have a messenger unless one is sent?”

While wanting all of his listeners “to think deeply about these questions,” the Pope offered guidance to “help you to discern what it is that the Lord is asking of you.”


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