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By Our Own Correspondent

Vatican City, 18 October 2019 -- On the Feastday of St. Luke the Evangelist, Pope Francis appointed Fr Lucas Dau Ze Jeimphaung, S.D.B., until now Provincial Councilor and Rector of the Salesian Postnovitiate community of Pyin Oo Lwin (MYM) as the Coadiutor Bishop of Lashio, in Shan State, Myanmar.

Fr Lucas Dau Ze Jeimphaung, was born in the village of Hpa Hping, Northern Shan State (Diocese di Lashio), on 18 October 1962. He joined the Salesian Aspirantate in Nazareth in 1979, entered the Salesian novitiate (Anisakan) in 1983, made his first profession on 8 December 1984. Bishop elect Lucas did his philosophical studies in Anisakan, St Joseph Salesian Philosophate (present provincial house), got his bachelor degree in History (University of Yangoon, distance study) and completed his theological studies at the National Seminary in Yangoon. As a Salesian of Don Bosco made his perpetual vows on 6 May 1993 and was ordained as a Salesian Priest on 21 April 1996. From 2006-2012 he was Rector and Parish Priest in Anisakan and from 2008-2011 Provincial Councillor and Youth Ministry Delegate. In 2017 he was appointed the Missionary Animation delegate and in 2018 again as Provincial Councillor of the Myanmar Viceprovince of Mary Help of Christians.

His Salesian life and mission was spent in the pastoral and formation work - between the mission frontiers of Lashio diocese and especially within the Wa Region (2012-2017), since 2017 again as the Rector of the Salesian Study Center and Postnovitiate in Pyin Oo Lwin. Our new missionary bishop was trained in a variety of matters - between 2003-2006 in Manila, Philippines (Diploma in Family Counselling and MA in sociology at the EAPI - East Asia Pastoral Institute. During last 3 years he also faithfully attended the EAO Salesianity Course in Paranaque-Batulao (Don Bosco's History-Pedagogy-Spirituality).

The Bishop of Lashio, Philip Lasaw Za Hawng appreciates the 45 year contribution of the Salesians to his diocese: "For the evangelization among the ethnic tribes, an understanding of their language, mentality and culture is very much essential besides setting up schools. These are essential for smoothening and deepening the relationship with the local people and the authorities... also the need to dedicate time to language learning for both religious and volunteers, as well as guarantee the continuity of personnel in Lashio diocese with its many ethnic groups."

The Salesian work in the Eastern part of Myanmar started 45 years ago, when during the heroic time we took the first parish in the former PIME mission territory – Namtu, and then during the Lashio Apostolic Prefecture entrusted to the Salesians (1976-1990) under the guidance of Bishop Charles Bo, many Salesians developed the basic structures of the local Church. Now the diocese of Lashio (1990) which stretches across 61.268 km2 with a population of 2.3 million, already has 29,000 Catholics from many ethnic groups (mostly Shan, Lisu, Wa, Lahu and Kachin) with 18 parishes and 35 diocesan priest and 8 SDB priests. Together with 122 religious sisters and 120 catechists there are also 22 major seminarians.

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