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Pope Francis to beatify Myanmar martyr Isidore Ngei Ko Lat

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
December 12th, 2013
Catholic Online (

Pope Francis has authorized a decree recognizing both the martyrdom of Italian priest Fr. Mario Vergara of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions and Isidore Ngei Ko Lat, a lay catechist, martyred in Shadaw, or Myanmar on May 24, 1950. Archbishop Charles Bo of Yangon of Myanmar has since hailed the upcoming beatification as a sign of the Pope's love for the Church in Myanmar, formerly Burma.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "We are delighted to know that the first Burmese Blessed will be Isidore Ngei Ko Lat. The Holy Father is close to Myanmar and this first Blessed is the sign of Pope Francis and the Holy See's love and attention," Archbishop Charles Bo says.

The recognition of their martyrdom was among 12 decrees by the pope. One of these included a miracle and 10 heroic virtues that Pope Francis authorized. Another forthcoming beatification is of 19th century Italian nun, Giovannina Franks, through whose intercession a miracle has been recognized.

The "great joy and happiness," of the Catholic community in Myanmar was caught by surprise. While it was admittedly a long awaited announcement, the Myanmar martyr's journey to sainthood began in May 2008. At that time, the Catholic Bishops' Conference wrote a letter to Pope Benedict XVI to "humbly ask the Pope to authorize the study of the cause."

The beatification of Fr. Vergara and his catechist, the bishops wrote, will be a source of " encouragement" for the whole community to live" a faith more in line " with the Gospel and to witness to it "in a brave and heroic" way, even at the cost of dying because of hatred for the faith and giving their lives "for the Gospel."

The Church in Myanmar is preparing to celebrate 500 years of history and hopes for a visit by Pope Francis to the country. Archbishop Bo says that the beatification is a first step on a long journey and "there are many others", because they have many martyrs in Myanmar, who deserve sainthood.

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