Bishop Michael Smith visits first HIV hospice centre in North Burma

18 Nov 2009

17 November 2009

Bishop Michael Smith visits first HIV hospice centre in North Burma

Bishop Michael Smith, Bishop of Meath, continues his journey to Burma this week, seeing at first hand various projects supported by the Diocese of Meath.  His itinerary takes him from the capital city in the South to the recently-established Diocese of Banmaw, along the northern border with China.

Bishop Smith thanked the Burmese people for the enthusiasm of their reception saying “Your courage and resilience is an expression of your faith which inspires you to share generously with others and work together for a better future.”

Bishop Smith preached at Mass in the newly opened Saint Patrick’s Church in the Parish of Momauk which was built with contributions from communities in the Diocese of Meath.  Paying tribute to the Irish Columban missionaries who have worked in the region and sowed the seeds of faith for several generations, Bishop Smith said “It is a very special and poignant moment for me to stand here following in the footsteps of my fellow Irish people who found the courage and trust to come here to proclaim the good news of Christ.  They gave their lives in this endeavour, inviting you to walk the same path of faith, that path mapped out for us in Jesus Christ.  Many of them rest here in Burmese soil, far from their homeland.  I feel very humbled as I reflect on the immense courage and witness to faith given by these Irish priests and religious sisters.”

Among the projects supported by the Diocese of Meath, Trócaire and the Society of Saint Columban are youth leadership, vocational training programmes and boarding houses for student education.  Bishop Smith also visited the first HIV hospice centre in Northern Burma run by Irish Columban Sister Mary Dillon from Co Clare. 

Speaking at Mass to a packed Saint Patrick’s Cathedral on Saturday 14 November last, Bishop Raymond Sumlut Gam said “Our people have a very strong sense of being close to the Irish because you have helped us in so many ways.  Your visit is a great occasion for us and I ask you to bring home with you our sincerest appreciation for the generosity and faith of our friends in Ireland.”


Notes to Editors

Further information:
Martin Long, Director of Communications 086 172 7678