May 15, 2024 | Local News
Fr. Stephen Van Lal Than

Fr. Martin Ma Na Ling, associate pastor of Holy Spirit Parish in Bowling Green, blesses the 20 catechists who will serve the parish’s Myanmar Catholic community, on May 5, 2024. COURTESY OF HOLY SPIRIT PARISH

Twenty new catechists to serve Myanmar Catholic community in Bowling Green


May 5, 2024, was a great day for the Holy Spirit Parish as 20 Myanmar catechists received their certificates for completing their basic requirements, from pastor, Fr. Randy Howard, during the Myanmar Mass at 2 p.m.

I catechized these catechists in the Catholic faith for eight months, beginning last year. These 20 Myanmar catechists will serve the Myanmar Catholic community and the four prayer groups which are grouped according to their dialect in the Myanmar Catholic Community in Holy Spirit Parish.

The catechists will serve the parish as much as they can according to their motto on the certificate, “Serve one another through love (Gal 5:13).”

They will lead the Holy Rosary, home prayer services, read the Gospel in their dialect, lead birthday celebrations, and encourage parishioners who are homebound. They will go with the priests to homes and hospitals to translate languages or dialects when the priests do not understand patients’ dialects or languages. The catechists will serve as volunteers, translators for various dialects, bus drivers, ushers, and others as needed, until we have Burmese permanent deacons one day.

The 20 new Myanmar catechists smile for a group picture with Fr. Randy Howard and Fr. Martin Ma Na Ling on May 5, 2024. COURTESY OF HOLY SPIRIT PARISH

These catechists will also support pastoral needs in the future when the Myanmar priest at Holy Spirit is unavailable, or the parish does not have one assigned.

On May 18, 2024, all of these Myanmar catechists will also receive training for Safe Environment protocols of the diocese, so that they can serve the parish readily and faithfully.

As an associate pastor of the parish, it is a great step to build the parish with different cultures and people. Catechists provide a great way to do Myanmar Catholic ministry successfully, so that the pastor and associate pastor, without understanding their dialects, can better balance parishioners’ struggles, problems, sacramental needs, and spiritual needs. The Myanmar Catholic community in Bowling Green is made of four different dialects and one language.

For me, these Myanmar catechists will serve as the backbones of the Myanmar Catholic community and the parish.

To connect, follow the Myanmar Catholic community in Bowling Green at


First-ever Safe Environment group training for Myanmar Catholics opens up more opportunities to get involved

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