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Salesian Archbishop Charles Bo nominated Cardinal

By BIS Kolkata
Archbishop Charles Maung Bo
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Kolkata, Jan. 4. Among the twenty names of future Cardinals announced by Pope Francis this afternoon, 4 January, in Vatican at the Angelus, is also Salesian Archbishop Charles Maung Bo of Yangon, Myanmar. This is a great news for the five hundred year old Catholic Church in Myanmar, and for the Salesians as well, who have been playing a prominent role in the Catholic presence in that country. Incidentally the future Cardinal, prior to becoming a bishop  was also the head of the Burmese Salesians when they were a part of the Salesian Kolkata Province in the early 80's. The pope will raise him to the dignity of the Cardinalate on February 14 at the annual consistory. He will be the first Myanmarese Cardinal.
This afternoon the Pope announced after the customary Angelus prayer, ''As was already announced, on February 14 next I will have the joy of holding a Concistory, during which I will name 15 new Cardinals who, coming from 14 countries from every continent, manifest the indissoluble links between the Church of Rome and the particular Churches present in the world.''  Archbishop Charles Bo, who has been the Secretary  cum Treasurer of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Myanmar, is one of the special nominees, coming from a politically troubled country. He represents some 500,000 Catholics in Myanmar, which is around one percent of its 51 million population.

Only just over a month ago Myanmar catholics celebrated the 5th centenary of the Church's presence in that country. On that occasion the Pope's envoy Cardinal Oswald Gracias, the Archbishop of Mumbai, had affirmed to the gathered people at Yangon St Mary's Cathedral that ''Myanmar is so special to Pope Francis because the Church is small, because the Church has got challenges, because the Church has got a great future.'' The nomination of Archbishop Bo as Cardinal, it could be inferred, is a further indication of that. Incidentally the Church is just coming out from a long time of religious repression under the former Military Junta, and Archbishop Bo has been a strong and authoritative voice calling for justice, peace and freedom in that country.

Archbishop Charles Maung Bo was born on 29 October, 1948. He is the youngest son of U John and Juliana Daw Aye Tin. He studied at ''Nazareth'' Salesian Aspirantate, Anisakan, in Pyin Oo Lwin from 1962 till 1976. He made his First religious Profession on May 24, 1970 and his Final Profession on March 10, 1976.

He was ordained a Salesian priest in Lashio, N.S.S. on 9 April, 1976. He was then nominated Parish Priest at Loihkam from 1976 to 1981, and  in Lashio from 1981 to 1983. Thereafter from 1983 until 1985 he was at Anisakan Salesian Seminary as a formator.

In 1985 he was appointed  Apostolic Administrator of Lashio, and then Apostolic Prefect from 1986 to 1990, till his  ordination as bishop of the Diocese on 16 December, 1990.

After serving as bishop of the Diocese of Lashio for six years, in 1996 he was transferred to the Diocese of Pathein. While he was Bishop of Pathein, he continued to be the Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Lashio till 1998, and that of the Archdiocese of Mandalay from 2002 to 2003. In June 2003 he was transferred to Yangon Archdiocese as its Archbishop.

Among the present responsibilities he is holding are: as Chair person of Office of Human Development in FABC (Federation of Asian Bishops' Conference), Member of Commission for Religious in FABC,  and Member of Pontifical Council for Culture (Vatican).
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