Myanmar welcomes latest local Jesuit priest

Father Stephen Martay was ordained in late February and has been visiting local ethnic groups
Myanmar welcomes latest local Jesuit priest

Father Stephen Martay celebrates his first Mass. (Photo courtesy of the Jesuit Conference of Asia Pacific)

March 9, 2018
The Jesuit Mission in Myanmar welcomed Father Stephen Martay as its fourth local priest on Feb. 24, with 50 priests attending a special ordination Mass.

He was ordained at St. Teresa parish in Tan-nan-U-kwe in Dimoso, Kayah State on the same day as the parish feted its Golden Jubilee with a three-day celebration, according to the Jesuit Asia Pacific Conference.

"People prayed together around me. It was a very touching moment," he said. "My friends and relatives came from far away."

A special monument set up to mark the mission's 50th anniversary was blessed on the previous day by Bishop Stephen Tjephe of Loikaw.

On the second day of the festival on Feb. 25 a morning Mass was held in honor of Father Martay.

Later that day local villagers greeted their new priest with a procession and traditional music as they led him to their church, the walk peppered with salutary gunfire.

On Feb. 26, he enjoyed his first Mass on the grounds of the village chapel of Our Lady of Rosary.

He is now visiting six villages in Dimoso until the middle of March to see people from the Kapu sub-tribe of the Kayan ethnic group.

After that he will return to Bhamo to serve as the assistant parish priest in St. Michael's parish, where he has already spent several months as a deacon.

Father Martay studied philosophy in Manila and theology at the Gregorian University in Rome before returning to Myanmar for his regency.

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