Message from Cardinal Charles Maung Bo

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My very dear Fr. Nicolas,
Fr. Provincial, Fr. Tony Moreno, Fr. Peter Pojol
Fr. Director of EAPI and the staff,
My esteemed fellow companions of EAPI

This is the moment of grace and gratitude.

We are gathered to honour a man who made history: Fr Adolfo Nicolas. This is a conspiracy of Grace. Fr Nicolas is an erudite scholar, a versatile genius, with his unwavering commitment to bring the Asian face to Catholic Church. His life time achievements took him to the pinnacle of the Jesuits administration. Despite all halos and laurels, He remains a great human being. Everyone who encountered this man of grace and grit went back with peace of mind. His calmness and his sacramental smile have brought many souls closer to God than those who brought by our long sermons.

We are given the opportunity to be present in an occasion that honours this historic person. This we call conspiracy of grace. Surely Fr Nicolas will be embarrassed by my words of appreciation. It comes from my heart, because I have personally tasted his love for our Myanmar Church, when he boldly volunteered to guide us through retreat and his contribution to Myanmar Jesuit Mission. His sage advice imparted in his talks is still etched in our minds till today. The Jesuits are happy to have a sage and saint like him.

Secondly We are also here to show our gratitude to our alma mater: EAPI.

Coming from every nook and corner of the world, we have found EAPI a home away from home. The staff here showed a deep entrenched kinship to all who came here with their sincere love. We really felt CATHOLIC here, a heart-warming sense of belonging to a universal society. Myanmar church was once inflicted with suffocating oppression. For many priests and church personnel who came from Myanmar, emotionally, spiritually bruised and broken, the stay in EAPI was comprehensively healing. We found the EAPI ambience and the fellowship of staff a very healing process. We went back strengthened by your support. EAPI showed special love for the persecuted church coming from Bamboo curtain, Iron curtain and all curtains and has been always generous with our people. You are the scaffolding through which we fortified our fragile churches.

We are grateful to this great support, first of all as fellow pilgrims in our missionary journey. Second your help in empowering us with updated theological power. The struggling churches were given a lifeline through the hundreds who passed through EAPI portals. In Myanmar more than 100 benefited from the training. I am a proud alumnus of this great institution. It opened our eyes, our minds and hearts. We went back with a great resolve to be better disciples of Jesus. All of us who came here are contributing to the Myanmar church in many ways. I am sure the same experience with other countries.

Like all institutions, EAPI needs to reinvent itself as a new generation of Christians and Church emerges. The world is on a spiral of change. Politically and socially the world is on a spiral. Institutions like EAPI are vital. I am glad it is seeking monetary support of the new efforts. The name of Fr Adolfo Nicolas is a live wire to this effort. We wish all the best.

EAPI has initiated outreach programs. We welcome that. EAPI I am sure is aware of the need for understanding the inter-religious perspectives, the need for peace-making and human development as new evangelization. The world may be richer, more connected with smart phones. But the poor remain poor. Those who are in the margins, even in countries like the Philippines, remain extremely poor. The need for contextual theology is a vital contribution.

We wish you all the best. We are grateful. We wish the function all success.

With Prayers,
+ Charles Cardinal Maung Bo., DD, SDB
Archbishop of Yangon, MYANMAR.

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