God's Grace is Sufficient! (2 Cor 12: 9)
Lashio - Sacred Heart Cathedral, Myanmar, 30 January 2020 -- Since the establishment of Lashio diocese in 1990 the second episcopal ordination was celebrated on 29 January on a wonderful sunny Wednesday in the Sacred Heart Cathedral compound in an open-air ceremony. The presence of almost the complete Myanmar Bishops Conference (more than 20 bishops all up) with hundreds of priests and thousands of Catholic faithful dressed in dozens of different ethnic group attire blended together, make the ordination really a wonderful celebration.
"God's grace is sufficient" (2 Cor 12:9) is the motto of the 132nd Salesian Bishop (currently), who comes from the Kachin ethnic group in the village of Pangpau - Hpahping parish (one of the 19 in Lashio diocese) as the 5th of six children. The joyful presence of the Kachin people was felt throughout these days. Just as, 24 years ago, Salesian Lucas Dau Ze was ordained to priesthood by the first bishop of Lashio, Charles Bo SDB, so today Salesian priest Lucas Dau Ze was ordained bishop by him.
In the presence of ecclesiastical, civil and military authorities, the Bishop of Lashio, Philip Lasap Za Hawng, softly shared the main challenges of his diocese, focusing especially on the young people: 'Young people, driven out of their home villages and towns - due to enrolment (conscription) in many armed groups - may fall victims of human trafficking, while others become drug addicts or are simply idle and unemployed or taken in by other Christian sects." He also pointed to the root cause of these issues - a strong need for justice for the ethnic minorities in the country, since they are unable to enjoy their own territory's resources.
After the ordination, the newly ordained coadjutor bishop energetically addressed the large assembly of Lashio diocesan faithful, thanking everyone who contributed to this wonderful celebration and expressing gratitude for the presence of many international guests. Indeed the presence of bishops, priests, Salesians, benefactors, classmates and well wishers from China, Japan, Korea, India, Singapore, Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia, Italy, Germany and other countries gave this celebration truly a catholic - universal feel!
In the afternoon after the ordination came the traditional Kachin dance 'Manaw', followed by Rosary and Adoration in the Cathedral, lead by the young people. Then was dinner was served around the large compound in different rooms. A busy festive day concluded with wonderful dances and a concert prepared by many different Catholic groups from more than ten ethnic groups, attended mostly by young people until the late hours.
For the episcopal ordination many offered their gifts: also the Rector Major of the Salesians, Fr. Ángel F. Artime sent a gift of a Don Bosco statue with brief best wishes: 'My dear confrere Lucas, with my affection I wish you a happy new mission with the heart of Don Bosco! Praying for you!"
Since Bishop Lucas was a provincial delegate for the missionary animation, also Fr. Guillermo Basanes, Councillor for the Missions sent a special greeting: 'Dear Lucas, proud of your call, of your generosity and of your new mission!' From the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus built by our beloved Father Don Bosco we keep you in our hearts and prayers. And please... bless us!'
Many Myanmar Salesians worked very hard to ensure a smooth celebration, starting with the provincial, Fr. Charles Saw, who took special care of the VIP guests from abroad, Salesians took charge as MC of the Ordination Mass, Choir master during the celebrations and also the Thibaw Salesian Aspirants spent one full week preparing the logistics and were very much visible among the other 120 official 'Volunteers' in the Cathedral campus.
On the eve of Don Bosco's Feast day, the Lashio celebration comes to an end with the ordination of 3 diocesan priests: Fr. Peter Pausa Zau Hka, Fr. Joseph Lasham Tu Lum and Fr Michael Saw Kay Soe Lwan.
We give thanks to God for all the blessings and wish our new bishop the grace promised by his motto: "God's grace is sufficient'. May he live with the heart of a Good Samaritan and Good Shepherd amidst the Lashio Catholic community and young people!