More than 800 Catholics held palms and sang songs in a procession to the St. Columban's Church compound in Myiktyina, the capital city of Myanmar’s conflict-stricken Kachin State, marking Palm Sunday on April 9. Bishop Francis Daw Tang of Myitkyina Diocese the Mass with priests and urged the faithful to reflect on the sins of pride and egocentricity before renewing themselves and their faith.
Kachin State has been the scene of on-and-off civil wars since Myanmar gained independence from the British in 1948. Fighting resumed in 2011 in the Christian-majority region after a 17-year ceasefire broke down. Since then, more than 100,000 people have been forced into internally displaced people camps and many churches have been destroyed.
State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi made a rare visit to Kachin State on March 28 to convince ethnic armed groups to sign a ceasefire ahead of the second Panglong peace conference in May. She also met with Christian leaders.
"Trust is the main factor for the Kachin Independence Army to sign the ceasefire agreement as they have experienced the broken promises of the military," said Bishop Francis Daw Tang who met Suu Kyi during her visit. (Source: UCAN)