The members of the La Salette District in Mayanmar, together with the whole La Salette congregation, have gratefully celebrated the 75th Anniversary of the Arrival of the first American La Salette Missionaries in Myanmar.
Five La Salette Missionaries from the United States of America, with Fr. Thomas Newman as the leader, arrived in Akyab (now Sittwe), Burma, on November 9,1937. The Holy Cross Fathers, who were in the area earlier, handed them the mission territory of Arakan District in the Southwestern section of Burma along the costal area.
One Solitary Man
|Bp. Thomas Newman, M.S., first
bishop of Prome, Myanmar (Burma)
The La Salette Missionaries did wonderful work in the mission and founded the Prome (now Pyay) Diocese with Bishop Newman, M.S., as their leader. When the missionaries left Myanmar in 1976 due to increasing pressures imposed upon foreign missionaries by the military regime, there were nine native priests and a bishop consecrated to look after the diocese. The message and the spirit of La Salette has remained in the heart of the clergy and the people.
Our Blessed Mother no doubt prayed that some day the La Salette Missionaries would return by calling and choosing Fr. Bernard Taylor (Mya Thein), to become a La Salette priest. Well before the missionaries left Myanmar, Fr. Bernie committed himself to be a La Salette with a strong desire to continue their mission of reconciliation. He went to the Philippines for studies and was ordained in 1971, all the while continuing to work to bring back the La Salette Missionaries.
|The thirteen professed native Burmese La Salette Missionaries|
It was through the ongoing efforts of Fr. Bernie Taylor, M.S. (professed in 1982), a member of the Philippine Mother of Hope Province, in collaboration with the Bishop and clergy of the Prome Diocese and several other people that, since 1993, the La Salette Missionaries were able to recruit seminarians from Burma and trained them in the Philippines.
On November 9, 2005, the mission of the La Salette Congregation was reestablished in Burma, with Fr. Bernie and four other native La Salette priests in attendance. After a twenty-nine year absence, the La Salettes once again had established themselves in Myanmar. Since then, the missionaries had been working in the Archdiocese of Mandalay and the Diocese of Myitkyina while also serving on the Diocesan Commission of Peace and Justice.
The presence of the La Salette Missionaries, now numbering thirteen members working in different ministries and in various areas of the country, has attracted some young enthusiastic men to join the La Salettes. A few new candidates join the community each year. The first seven locally-trained young men took their first religious vows as La Salettes during the 75th Jubilee Mass on November 9, 2012. The local La Salette community is truly blessed with the seven new members who show a bright future the community in Myanmar. In addition the La Salettes celebrated the 40th Priestly Anniversary of Fr. Bernard Taylor, M.S.
May God continue to bless the La Salette mission in Burma and shower abundant blessings on all those who have made these celebrations possible!
|The clergy (native and guests), novices and postulants
gathered for the Mass celebrating the 75th Anniversary
of the La Salette Mission in Myanmar (Burma)