Cardinal Charles Maung Bo of Yangon urged newly ordained deacons to be “missionaries” and to build a Church that is at the service of a world that is more fraternal and in solidarity with the people.
“Priestly joy is the source of your action as missionaries of your time,” said the cardinal in his homily during the ordination of new deacons in the Diocese of Myitkyina on April 2.
“Pastors should not be people working in offices full time on the table, but must be capable of living and of helping with [the] people,” Cardinal Bo said.
“A priest has to be a pastor amid God’s people because God has chosen him for that,” the cardinal addressed the new deacons and the priests who attended the Chrism Mass in Myitkyina.
The cardinal reminded the priests and deacons of the message of Pope Francis that priests as shepherds should smell of the sheep and grounded in the situation of their flock.
He said priests should not go to the field to apply theories without considering the context in which they will be working or the people entrusted to their care.
The authority of a priest is based, not on his power, but on his services to the people, the cardinal was quoted as saying in a report on Radio Veritas Asia.
He said priests should not be afraid to dare, to risk, and to go forward, adding that with Christ, they can be apostles of joy.
During the ordination of 13 new priests last month, Cardinal Bo said the Church of Myanmar “is wounded and displaced,” but said that “priests are wounded healers, the hope of the people.”
“They are the refuge of the suffering brothers and sisters,” said the cardinal.
The then reminded the new priests that to be a pastor of the flock in Myanmar is “to serve and not to show authority over others, to heal those wounded and the weak, not to wound others, to search for justice, not to kneel and surrender, but to proclaim that no powerful people are to govern the world senselessly.”
“Priests are soldiers of God’s army and fight for human dignity and justice,” he said.
“We gather and pray in words and in our heart … amid challenges, tears and blood (that) is flowing not only in Myanmar but in the world, too,” said the cardinal.