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Remembering the dead on Father's Day

Faithful honor all those who take the role of fathers

  • ucanews.com reporter, Mandalay
  • Myanmar
  • July 4, 2011
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Parishioners from Mandalay this year sought solace and gave thanks among the dead in honor of Father’s Day.

They gathered in the Catholic cemetery in Kyannigan village, north of the city, to hold a Mass of remembrance for relatives and friends, and to encourage each other and the missionaries who serve the Church in Myanmar.

The unusual event, generally reserved for All Souls Day celebrations among Mandalay parishioners, drew hundreds of people. Some adorned grave sites with candles and flowers, while others said silent prayers with their rosaries prior to the Mass.

Father Augustine Tin Maung Tun, parish priest of St. Michael’s Church in Mandalay, officiated with six other priests in St. Thomas Hall at the cemetery on June 25. They were joined by about 350 nuns, seminarians and parishioners from five parishes in Mandalay.

St. Lazarus Funeral Service and Cemetery Maintenance Association in the Mandalay archdiocese organized the event.

“This is the first time the Catholic Church in Myanmar has celebrated Father’s Day in this way, and more precisely, we come to the cemetery to pray for the missionary priests, bishops and all those who take the role of fathers in their households,” said Father John Soe Tint, a priest in St. Joseph parish in Mandalay during his homily.

“The most important part of this celebration is to express our deep gratitude,” he added.

After mass, priests blessed the graves with holy water, while nuns and parishioners planted trees in the cemetery.

John Maung Maung, president of the funeral association, said the event was the first of other planned “retreats” in the future.

Daw Bella Nyo, 65, a parishioner from St. Francis Xavier parish, said she was thankful for arrangements the association had made to help those in distant villages participate.

“It’s a privilege for me to come and pray in front of my son’s grave because of transportation arranged by the association.”

Monsignor John Mg Nee, chairman of the St. Lazarus association, thanked parishioners for their attendance in the inaugural event, which collected about 600,000 kyat (US$800) to help fund the care of the cemetery.

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Catholics pray at clean cemeteries for All Souls' Day
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