Cardinal Charles Maung Bo of Yangon expressed the gratitude of the Catholic faithful of Myanmar to Filipinos who showed their “solidarity” with the Southeast Asian country.
“With grateful sentiments, we, the Myanmar Catholics, deeply appreciate the communion of the Church in the Philippines through its ‘Day of Prayer’ on July 19,” said the cardinal in a letter.
Catholic churches across the Philippines tolled its bells on Monday in a show of solidarity with the beleaguered country of Myanmar.
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines also released a prayer for Myanmar prepared by the Episcopal Commission on Liturgy.
July 19 is designated as “Martyr’s Day” in Myanmar to pay tribute to its national heroes, including General Aung San and several other Cabinet members who were killed in 1947.
Aung San, founder of Myanmar’s armed forces, along with eight others were assassinated before Myanmar regained independence in 1948.
In his letter, Cardinal Bo said the Philippines’ observance of a “Day of Prayer” for Myanmar was a “moving gesture” that “deeply touched” the people in his country.
“These noble gestures continue to heal our people,” said Cardinal Bo in his letter addressed to Archbishop Romulo Valles, president of the Philippines’ Catholic bishops’ conference.
The cardinal noted that the Church in Myanmar “owe a great debt to the Philippine Church and the people for welcoming our men and women when they come for their training” in the country.
“Your accompaniment has empowered the Church here,” said Cardinal Bo. “May the Lord who blesses the cheerful giver, bless all of you a hundredfold,” he added.
A report by Radio Veritas Asia also quoted other Church leaders and Catholic faithful in Myanmar who thanked the Filipino people’s show of solidarity.
Sister Christine Zar Ni said she was “very pleased and happy” of the expression of solidarity, adding that she felt that the Church “is always standing with and supporting those in need.”
“You are very kind, and may God bless the Philippine Catholic Church,” said Pauline Kyi Kyi Shwe. “Let me respectfully request you to continue to remember us in your prayers,” she added.
“Maraming Salamat Filipino community for your love for our country,” said Elizabeth Mi Mi, who studied in the Philippines.
“We know that you are with us in the time of our difficulties,” said Catholic priest John Boko.
“I feel an indescribable feeling in my heart and feel encouraged when I come to know that Filipinos are standing by our side,” said Rosaline Khaing.
On May 30, churches in the Philippines also offered Masses for peace in Myanmar amid the suffering and violence caused by the conflict in the country since the military coup in February.
The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, which has been monitoring the post-coup crackdown, puts the death toll at more than 880 since February with around 5,200 in detention.