Young people learn plight of Burmese

Cardinal Charles Bo from Burma with pupils from Taylor and Our Lady's Highs at Ravenscraig.

Cardinal Charles Bo from Burma with pupils from Taylor and Our Lady's Highs at Ravenscraig.

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Cardinal Charles Bo from Burma addressed a group of 250 young people at Ravenscraig Regional Sports Facility earlier this week.

The Archbishop of Yangon was in England as a guest of the Bishop’s Conference and decided he’d like to visit Scotland for the first time.

Missio Scotland, Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), Christian Solidarity Worldwide and SCIAF teamed up to sponsor the trip.

Cardinal Bo spoke of the past, present and future of Burma, which was ruled by Britain for 100 years before independence.

He said: “I stand here today for the people of Burma.”

Cardinal Bo described the past as the “Way of the Cross”, when totalitarianism spread in 1962 and hid Burma behind the “bamboo curtain”.

Two million refugees were sent to nearby countries with disastrous results as the Burmese became the new slave nation and drugs and human trafficking flourished.

He added: “The Catholic Church was singled out for persecution.

“Lands, schools, medical facilities were confiscated but it was not the Church that was a victim, it was the poor of the country.”

School pupils from across Scotland will rally at Carfin Grotto next month to stand in solidarity with persecuted Christians.

The second annual youth rally on Thursday, June 16, is being organised by the Motherwell-based Scottish office of ACN.

Last year the inaugural gathering last year brought together more than 1,000 pupils at the Grotto.

Bishops John Keenan of Paisley and Joseph Toal of Motherwell will be in attendance along with guest speakers who have firsthand knowledge of Christian persecution.

Each school taking part will invite students to petition the Scottish Government to promote religious freedom around the world.

Lorraine McMahon, ACN’s head of operations in Scotland, said: “ACN Scotland is very excited to be holding our second youth rally.

“The rally is an opportunity for the youth of this country to stand up and be counted and say we will not sit back as Daesh [ISIS] eradicate Christianity and other minority groups from the Middle East.

“Come and join us in June to learn about the forgotten human rights issue of the day.”

Schools wishing to attend need to register by Friday, June 3, by visiting ANCUK