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Myanmar

Seminary veteran named new bishop of Myanmar diocese

Pope Francis appoints Msgr. John Saw Gawdy as coadjutor bishop of Taungngu in eastern Myanmar

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Seminary veteran named new bishop of Myanmar diocese

Msgr. John Saw Gawdy was appointed coadjutor bishop of Taungngu in eastern Myanmar on June 29. (Photo: Catholic Bishops' Conference of Myanmar social communication office)

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A priest who has served in seminaries for nearly two decades in Myanmar is to become the new bishop of Taungngu Diocese.

Pope Francis appointed Msgr. John Saw Gawdy as coadjutor bishop of the diocese on June 29, the feast of Saints Peter and Paul.

The 65-year-old priest currently serves as a member of the Diocesan College of Consultants, the Diocesan Presbyteral, Pastoral and Financial Councils, and the Diocesan Tribunal.

As coadjutor, Bishop-elect Saw Gawdy has the right of succession for the diocese following Bishop Isaac Danu, the current bishop.

On June 29, Bishop Danu announced the appointment of a new bishop and urged priests, religious and laypeople to welcome Bishop-elect Saw Gawdy by ringing church bells in various parishes in the diocese.

Bishop-elect Saw Gawdy was born in the village of Domapholi, Leiktho parish, in Taung Ngu on Oct. 21, 1955.  He belongs to the Gheba tribe and was born into a Catholic family.

He studied philosophy and theology at Saint Joseph’s Major Seminary in Yangon. He also obtained a master’s in biblical theology at the Pontifical Josephinum College in Yonker, Ohio, USA. He was ordained as a priest on April 9, 1983.

After his ordination, he served in several roles — professor of philosophy at St. Joseph’s Major Seminary in Pyin-Oo-Lwin, rector of St. Paul Minor Seminary in Leiktho in Taungngu Diocese, professor at St. Jean Marie Vianney at the Inter-diocesan Seminary in Loikaw, director of the Catechetical center in Leiktho and parish priest of the church of Leiktho.

The missionaries of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions began the work of evangelization in the village of Leiktho, Taungngu Diocese. in 1868.

The diocese covers a vast mountainous and forested area home to various ethnic groups including the Gheba Kayin, Ghekho Kayah, Sgaw Kayin, Bwe Kayin, SoKhu Kayin and Burmese.

Some 66 priests serve the Catholic community, which numbers 41,600 out of the 4.3 million population in the diocese, according to the 2020 Catholic directory.

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