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Yangon parish spurs children’s faith

Fun faith-formation program brings young Catholics closer to God

Children from St. Joseph’s parish in Yangon perform songs at the monthly gathering Children from St. Joseph’s parish in Yangon perform songs at the monthly gathering
  • ucanews.com reporter, Yangon
  • Myanmar
  • February 1, 2011
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A parish in Yangon archdiocese has stepped up efforts to deepen the faith of Catholic children through a fun-filled monthly “faith formation” program.

“It’s very important to form Catholic children in Yangon archdiocese and this can be easily done when they are young,” said Father Simon Tin Maung, parish priest of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Yangon.

Parents give priority to academic studies and extra tutoring and care very little about their children’s faith formation, Father Tin Maung said.

During the latest program on Jan. 30, some 102 children and 30 parents participated in a Mass, singing competition, games and dancing, led by four nuns and 12 seminarians from Yangon’s Catholic major seminary.

During the Mass, the children read the epistles, led the choir and made offerings of bananas, papayas and cakes which they bought using their own pocket money, said Sister Augusta who is in charge of catechism classes.

“Only about 20 percent of children aged five to 15 cares for Sunday Mass and catechism classes,” said Father Tin Maung.

He said the aims of the monthly gathering are to provide what these children need and at the same time, get what we want from them.

Most of the Catholic families live within a non-Christian surrounding. Therefore children are exposed to non-Christian beliefs, ideologies and practices, Father Tin Maung added.

“In this day and age, parishes need to take initiatives to form the younger generation in the Catholic faith,” Father Tin Maung told ucanews.com.

About 80 percent of parish marriages are mixed. In spite of promises made by the non-Catholic partner, the choice of faith (religion) for their children is one of the main causes of family problems, according to the parish priest.

“We have good relationships with other Catholic children and gain more experience in spirituality. We are able to read the epistles and sing in the choir,” said Francis Naing San Htun a 13-year-old participant.

 

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MY13099.1639
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