Cardinal Bo thanks Australia, appeals for support, understanding for Myanmar

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Cardinal Bo meets with supporters at a Burmese community event in Sydney

Myanmar’s first Cardinal, Charles Maung Bo S.D.B., used a recent Australian visit to promote support for education and peace in Myanmar, and to urge understanding about his country’s delicate situation.

The Archbishop of Yangon spent just over a week touring Sydney, Melbourne, and Perth as a guest of Catholic Mission, whose Church Appeal is supporting children’s education programs in Myanmar. His words were heard across the country and even by overseas audiences.

Speaking in Masses, community events and private functions during his visit, Cardinal Bo touched on conflict and political turmoil in Myanmar, which has received extensive media coverage over the past two years, but focused on the Church’s work to heal and build the nation.

Cardinal Bo's message to Australia

Myanmar's first Cardinal, Charles Maung Bo, shares about the challenges facing his country today and the work of the Church to bring peace and democracy through the power of education.

‘We have opened schools in remote areas. We have built churches where there was none. We have educated our poor seminarians and sent them back to remote areas,’ the Cardinal said during a Solemn Mass at Sydney’s St Mary’s Cathedral, which was webcast to a worldwide audience.

He took the opportunity to thank Australians for their generous commitment to supporting vulnerable people in Myanmar. ‘Australian people, through Catholic Mission, have stood shoulder to shoulder in our struggle to bring dignity to our poor youth,’ he said. ‘You have shared the bread of compassion.’

Between engagements in the three capital cities, Cardinal Bo also spoke to local and national media, eager to temper what he said were unrealistic expectations of high profile State Counsellor and Nobel Peace Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi.

‘Her power is very limited and she plays a delicate role but at this moment I believe that she is the only person who is capable of leading the country to democracy,’ he told The Catholic Weekly.

Cardinal Bo urged Australians to continue their support of education in Myanmar through Catholic Mission, linking it directly to the prospect of peace. ‘With the cooperation of people in Australia we would like to work harder, especially in the field of education,’ he said. ‘With courage and resilience, we must carry on in the future.’