Despite being a small minority, only 2% of the population, Catholicism celebrates 500 years in Myanmar.
Formerly known as Burma, The Republic of the Union of Myanmar – or simply Myanmar – is a beautiful country south of China. Although significantly smaller than its neighbor to the north, it is large in community and its people are diverse. Over 130 ethnic groups are recognized by the government with diverse religions and cultural practices. While Buddhism is the population’s religion of choice with almost 90% of the country being followers, Catholicism has certainly made a significant impact and celebrates 500 years in the nation.
Religious Persecution in Myanmar
Unfortunately, Myanmar has been plagued by many conflicts, government coups, and violent reforms. Therefore, religious persecution has been a significant problem, especially for Christianity. At various times, Christians have been discriminated against and denied military enrollment and government careers. However, Catholicism has been emerging and growing for one half of a millennium, 500 years, with nearly two percent of the population practicing. They continue to make striving efforts to allow more opportunities and religious freedoms for every group.
Celebrations are widely attended to showcase the magnificent impact this religion has created within this unique country throughout the year. This commemoration started late last year with the finale being the Feast of Christ the King on November 23rd this year. The Catholic Creative Artists Association has produced an album of wonderfully inspiring music to help bring together followers in celebration. The National Stadium was actually completely full during the gathering of multiple ethnic groups created by this wonderful association, which is an incredible feat of opportunity for a minority religion.
Although the minority, Catholics have been pushing to spread their word and help others do the same by promoting celebrations in honor of the lasting love of Christianity and beating down the walls of targeting and persecution. Music, dancing, and more beautiful art groups are dedicating their time to assist in this wonderful commemoration.
In the U.S., St. Pius X Parish in Indianapolis is helping immigrants from Myanmar adjust to American Catholic life by holding classes and workshops in their native language. There are about 500 Myanmarese immigrants active in the Indianapolis Archdiocese.