Anglicans and Protestants in Myanmar are looking forward to Pope Francis’ visit to the country next month. Pope Francis will visit Yangon and Nay Pyi Taw at the end of November, ahead of a visit to Bangladesh. Nant Myat Noe Aein, a 21-year-old youth leader in the Church of the Province of Myanmar, told AsiaNews that “the apostolic journey of Pope Francis to Myanmar, a Buddhist majority country, shows that its society is more open now than before.
“Our country used to be a closed society for decades. With the new democratic government since last year, society is gradually opening up for change. And the visit of Pope Francis is a blessing.”
The Myanmar Council of Churches (MCC) unites the Anglican Church of the Province of Myanmar with a number of other Christian denominations in the country. Its general secretary, Lal Puia, also welcomed the Pope’s intended visit, saying that it “has put Myanmar in the limelight of the world, which is interested to know more about the country and its people.
“The country faces many problems,” he said. “With the visit, Pope Francis will urge all to work for the progress and prosperity of the country. I have registered to attend the function of Pope Francis in Yangon. I will take part in his Mass. I am excited about the event.”
MCC’s president, Patrick Loo Tone, said: “Many people in the country do not know much about Christians in the country. With the Pope’s coming, both inside and outside, people and the world are interested to know about the nation, people, and their issues and concerns.”
Myanmar is a Buddhist-majority country, with adherents making up almost 89 per cent of the population. Christians make up around 6.3 per cent of the population while Muslims account for 2.3 per cent.
The Pope’s visit next month will be the fourth significant Christian event in the country in two months; and it follows the Asian Mission Conference, the diamond jubilee celebrations of the Christian Council of Asia, and the Bishop’s Meeting of the Council of the Church of East Asia.