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Friday, October 28, 2016
Irish Bishop Michael Smith visits Burma
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pagoda in Burma (Myanmar)
Bishop Michael Smith, Bishop of Meath, Ireland, departed yesterday for a visit to Burma (Myanmar).  Bishop Smith's schedule involves visits to a number of projects supported by the Diocese of Meath. 
Over recent years the Diocese of Meath has supported several projects in Burma.  Last month Bishop Smith received a letter from Archbishop Paul Grawng, President of the Bishops’ Conference in Burma, outlining the challenges facing the work of the Church in the country - see below.  Archbishop Grawng succeeded the Irish-born Bishop John Howe in his diocese.  The projects supported by the diocese include the building of Saint Patrick’s Church in Momauk and providing emergency relief after Cyclone Nargis last year, when a Meath diocesan collection raised over €130,000. Assistance is also given to five schools for Burmese migrant children from St Colmcille’s NS (Gainstown), St Michael’s BNS (Trim), Scoil Mhuire (Navan), O’Growney NS (Athboy) and Donacarney GNS (Mornington).
The major project supported by the Diocese of Meath, in conjunction with the Columban Fathers, provides 18 boarding houses for 350 students in Northern Burma.  All of the Diocese’s funds for this work came from the donations received from parishes and individuals for Bishop Smith's silver jubilee celebration earlier this year. 
Bishop Smith said:  “this project gives the Church an opportunity to offer some formation to the students who attend the local schools.  Hopefully it will play a small role in preparing young people to play an active role in the Church and society, now and into the future.”  Every effort is being made to ensure that these boarding houses are suitably equipped and maintained, with proper standards of child-friendly care and supervision.
This link continues the work already done by the Irish Church – principally the Society of Saint Columban and Trócaire – in the region.  In the 1930s, the Society of Saint Columban was asked by the Pope to open a mission in Burma.  Its first Bishop was Bishop John Howe and, when he retired he came back to live in Dalgan Park, Navan.  Other residents now living at Dalgan Park who have also served in Burma include Fr Michael Healy, Fr Owen O’Leary and Fr David Wall.  Bishop Smith will visit Dalgan Park upon his return to celebrate the feast of their patron, St Columbanus, on 23 November next.

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Tags: Bishop Michael Smith, Bishop of Meath, Burma, Diocese of Meath., Ireland

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