Archbishop U Shwe was the founder of Sisters of Zetaman and co-founder of the Little Way Missionary Priests of St. Therese
Archbishop Emeritus Matthias U Shwe served Taunggyi Archdiocese for 36 years until he retired in 2015. (Photo supplied)
Catholics in Shan state and elsewhere in Myanmar are mourning the death of a bishop who emphasized a greater role for missionaries and laypeople.
Archbishop Emeritus Matthias U Shwe of Taunggyi Archdiocese died on Aug. 12 aged 77.
His Requiem Mass will be led by Archbishop Basilio Athai at St. Joseph’s Cathedral, Taunggyi, on Aug. 14.
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The funeral will be held with a limited number of attendees including family members, priests and two each from religious congregations under Covid-19 regulations.
The late archbishop was the founder of local religious congregation Sisters of Zetaman and co-founder of the Little Way Missionary Priests of St. Therese.
Little Way Missionary priests are currently serving in Papua New Guinea and Africa.
He missed no pastoral visit no matter how far-flung the areas might be and how rough the roads were
In 1987, he launched the Little Evangelizers program which contributed immensely to missionary work.
Young people are prepared for their task by taking courses in catechesis, liturgy and Bible sharing as well as training in practical skills such as midwifery and basic medical knowledge before they are sent to remote areas where they serve as catechists and teachers in elementary schools as well as offering medical assistance.
The late prelate was one of the three bishops in Myanmar who invited Jesuits back to the country after they were expelled by the military regime in 1962.
A Jesuit priest hailed Archbishop U Shwe as “a big-hearted visionary and gentle shepherd."
"He always wanted to be with his flock both in life and in death. He missed no pastoral visit no matter how far-flung the areas might be and how rough the roads were,” the priest wrote on his Facebook page.
“Thank you Lord for the life of our good shepherd, Archbishop U Shwe, lover of the Blessed Sacrament and promoter of the perpetual Eucharistic Adoration,” said Father Celso Ba Shwe, apostolic administrator of Loikaw Diocese.
Archbishop U Shwe was born on Dec. 10, 1943. He was ordained a priest in 1969 and appointed auxiliary bishop of Taunggyi on Dec. 20, 1979. He was ordained a bishop on Dec. 13, 1980, and became an archbishop in January 1998.
As a bishop, he served Taunggyi Archdiocese for 36 years until he retired in 2015.
The late prelate also served as chairman of the Episcopal Commission for the Laity and as rector of St. Joseph's Catholic Major Seminary in Yangon.
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