By Paul Sai Yee
Myanmar (Burma) is made up of 135 national races, of which the main national races are Kachin, Kayah, Kayin, Chin, Bamar, Mon, Rakhine and Shan.
Population of the country is estimated at 52.4 million (July 2019) and the population growth rate is 1.84 percent.
The main religions of the country are Theravada Buddhism 89.2%, Christianity 5.0%, Islam 3.5%, Hinduism 0.5%, Spiritualism 1.2% and others 0.2%.
There are now 16 archdioceses and dioceses with 17 active bishops and 6 retired bishops – all from Myanmar. Catholics remain a minority with the estimated numbers of 675745, Diocesan and Religious priests 939, Religious (women and men) 1398, Catechists 2695. (Dec 2016)
Most of the dioceses are very extensive; most have extensive jungle and mountainous areas with extremely poor transportation and practically non-existent telephone or internet communications, except for city areas. In most rural parishes, it might take the priest from several hours to 2 to 5 days to reach some of the villages.
Almost all dioceses have trained adult catechists who are responsible for the instruction of the faithful in the villages. In most dioceses, the catechetical training is a 2 year program for those who have finished high school, and 3 years for those who had only primary or middle school background.
The Catholic Church in Myanmar celebrated the Golden Jubilee of the establishment of the local hierarchy with the First National Pastoral Assembly from 24-27 November, 2005. It is gradually gaining momentum in its work of Evangelization. It is to be noted that the Church’s activities are on the pastoral and social concern with very limited access.
Some of us are all over the world. We are here in Japan a small community but fervent catholic for our faith.