Message of Condolence from the Columban Sisters on the death of Archbishop Paul Grawng.
Dear Cardinal Bo, Bishops, Fathers, Brothers, Sisters and Faithful.
Greetings of peace to you from Ireland.
My sincere condolence to Cardinal Charles MaungBo, Archbishop Marcu Tin Win, Bishop Francis Daw Tang, Bishop Philip Zahawng, Bishop Raymond Sumlut Gam, to all the Priests in Myitkyina, Mandalay, Banmaw and Lashio Dioceses and to the Sisters, Catechists and all the beloved faithful and friends on the death of Archbishop PaulGrawng.
I am writing to you with a sad and lonely heart and I join all of you in spirit as you accompany our beloved Archbishop Paul on his final journey. At the same time, I would also like to give thanks and praise to God for Bishop Paul’s great and faithful life.I am grateful for having had the privilegeofknowing him. It is hard to bid farewell to Archbishop Paul who was your Archbishop and more than that he was father and friend to all. He will be greatly missed. I know all of you have special and meaningful memories of Bishop Paul and I pray that these will continue to inspire and guide you in the months and years ahead.
For us, Columban Sisters, he was a Big Brother, faithful companion and friend and he always welcomed us wholeheartedly and enabled us to be Christ’s missionaries in his Mother Land. We always knew he was there for us even when he said nothing! Many of you would remember that we, Columban Sisters, were in Myitkyina Dioceses from 1947 to 1966 then because of the situation we had to leave the country. While Bishop Paul was watching and waiting, he kept in touch with our Sisters and when the time was right he wrote a simple letter to the Congregational Leader at that time saying “I would be delighted if your sisters can return to Myanmar.” We responded to the warmth of that welcome and returned to Myanmar in 2003. I was honoured to be a member of the first group of Columban Sisters who returned to the beautiful Kachin Land.
We have so many memories and stories of Archbishop Paul. In June 2003, when 5 of us were studying language in the heat of Yangon, Bishop Paul came from Myitkyina for a meeting. He wanted to welcome us and to give us a chance to taste the grapefruits of Myitkyina. So he brought down a big basket of grapefruits by train from Myitkyina. Years later I realized that June wasn’t the grapefruit season, so he had to go to a lot of trouble to get the fruit! This was my first meeting with him. When we were in Myitkyina he brought us on our first trip to Myit Song a place that holds so much of the joyful and painful heritage of the Kachin people. He also told us the stories and myths about two riversMai Kha and NMaliKha joining together to form the Irrawaddy River. I have so many beautiful memories of Bishop.I continue to be inspired by his great simplicity andI learned from him how to be with, how to reach out to and respect those who are in need. He was a gentle and compassionate father to me.
I know his death is not the end because his spirit will be even closer to each one of us. All his friends in Heaven and especially his Kachin friends will welcome him to Heaven with the Manao Dance and I’m sure a banquethas been prepared for him.
As Ecclesiastes says “there is time for everything. A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to uproot. A time to kill and a time to heal. A time to weep and a time to laugh. A time to mourn and a time to dance….”
It is a time to say good bye to you, Bishop Paul. What words can fully express our hearts? Bishop Paul, we are grateful to you. We love you. We will miss you.
Eternal rest, grant unto him O Lord and let perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in Peace.
United with you all in spirit and prayers
Sr. Susanna Choi
Missionary Sisters of St. Columban
25th October 2020