There will be no singing of carols, no parties, no decors this Christmas in several Christian communities in Myanmar as Church leaders urged the faithful to be in solidarity with the people who have been most affected by the country’s political situation.
“Rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep,” said Bishop Lucius Hre Kung of Hakha in a circular he released on December 2.
“As of now our brethren across Myanmar, particularly in Chin State, are fleeing, grieving, and losing lives and houses due to infectious diseases and war,” said the prelate.
Archbishop Mark Tin Win of Mandalay also called on priests, men and women religious, and the laity to celebrate Christmas and New Year but without singing carols or holding parties.
“May you make confessions, hear Mass, pray, read the Bible, meditate, listen to homilies, recite the Rosary, help those in trouble, give alms, and be in solidarity with the poor,” said the bishop.
Bishop Felix Lian Khen Thang of the Diocese of Kalay also instructed Catholics in his diocese “not to do any decoration except ritual rites and preparations of (the) Christmas crib inside the churches.”
He said everyone should instead “make inner preparations, such as Eucharistic adoration, praying the Rosary and Novena, reading the Bible, and giving alms.”
Other Catholic dioceses and Protestant and Christian Church leaders have also issued similar guidelines urging the faithful not to hold Christmas parties and to avoid the singing of carols.
On Sunday, at least five people were killed and dozens injured when a military truck slammed from behind into a group of peaceful protesters.
The attack in Myanmar’s former capital Yangon scattered protesters and left bodies lying on the road, local news outlet Myanmar Now reported following the assault.
The flash-mob demonstration against the February 1 military coup that overthrew civilian rule in Myanmar was attacked only minutes after it began.
In a statement, Myanmar’s shadow National Unity Government condemned the violence, promising a “strong response” to the country’s military, which had “brutally, inhumanly killed the unarmed peaceful protesters.”
Also in a statement, the United Nations on Monday demanded Myanmar’s military rulers to take action against those involved in the attack.
Myanmar’s military overthrew the democratically elected government of Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy on February 1, saying voter fraud had led to the party’s landslide victory in the country’s November 2020 election.
The junta has yet to provide evidence for its claims and has violently suppressed nationwide protests calling for a return to civilian rule, killing 1,303 people and arresting 7,796 over the last 10 months, according to the Bangkok-based Assistance Association for Political Prisoners. – with a report from Radio Free Asia