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Myanmar Church wants quality not quantity

Priestly vocations rising but not from youths in cities

Young people at the Vocation Day exhibition at St. Joseph’s Catholic Major Seminary in Yangon Young people at the Vocation Day exhibition at St. Joseph’s Catholic Major Seminary in Yangon
  • ucanews.com reporter, Yangon
  • Myanmar
  • February 2, 2011
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A senior Church official says although priestly vocations in Myanmar are increasing, there is still a lack of quality caused to a large degree by demographics.

It is good that priestly vocations in Myanmar are increasing but what is needed is more “quality” than “quantity,” said Father Cyprian Aung Win, vice rector of St. Joseph’s Catholic Major Seminary in Yangon.

Young people in the cities have many choices such as in education and careers, he told ucanews.com at the seminary’s recent Vocation Day exhibition.

Youngsters are also influenced by their friends and neighbors who are mostly not Christian, he added.

On the other hand, rural youths wanting to improve their education have little choice and go to boarding houses and seminaries run by the Church, Father Aung Win said.

“As long as youths from rural areas join boarding houses and seminaries, the vocation will increase year by year in Myanmar, but what we need are more genuine vocations.”

It is therefore essential that professors (formators) and all the bishops understand the value of vocations and the need to train candidates well. We need to guide them and instill the right attitudes to get quality priests, Father Aung Win said.

“We need to vet candidates thoroughly one by one: their attitudes, characters, education, and spirituality and form them to be quality priests,” he said.

Father Simon Tin Maung, Graduate Chairman of the Myanmar Institute of Formation for Formators said this might be more difficult to achieve in cities.

There are too many attractions for young people living in cities. Modern technology, lifestyle and celibacy are big obstacles, he said.

Stephen Han Zaw Moe, 19, a graduate student from Yangon said there is intense competition among city youths and all are trying to be the best to land well-paid jobs.

“Being a priest? I’ve never thought about it. I don’t think I’d be able to live by the strict rules, the life, like the seminarians.”

The Catholic Church celebrates Feb. 2, the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, as World day of Prayer for Consecrated Life.

 

Related reports
Priests Need Better Formation, Communication With Bishops
Religious face recruitment challenges with hilltribe youths

MY13132.1369
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