Coverage Areas:  National |  South Carolina |  Aiken |  Beaufort |  Charleston |  Columbia |  Greenville |  Myrtle Beach |  Rock Hill

Father Kyaw is returning to Burma

ORANGEBURGWhen Father Marcian Thet Kyaw arrived in South Carolina from Burma in 2002, he never dreamed that he would end up staying for a decade.

He has been recalled by his bishop to work in the Archdiocese of Yangon, and his last day in South Carolina will be Oct. 29.

As he prepares to return to his birthplace, now called Myanmar, Father Kyaw looks back on 10 years of service to very different communities of the faithful in four deaneries.

“My feelings are happiness, sorrow, everything all kind of mixed,” Father Kyaw said. “I learned a lot of things while I was here and that is a big gain for my diocese and for me. I will enjoy getting back to see my family because I’ve only been back twice since I first came to this country.”

His first assignments were at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Charleston, Prince of Peace Church in Taylors, and St. Anne Church in Florence. He spent four years as administrator of Church of the Infant Jesus in Marion and St. Louis Church in Dillon.

Since July, he has been parochial vicar at Holy Trinity Church in Orangeburg, also serving St. Andrew in Barnwell, missions in Springfield and Allendale, and a nearby prison.

Father James Dubrouillet, pastor of Holy Trinity, said his dedication and hard work made an impact, noting that Father Kyaw learned to read Spanish so he could celebrate Mass for the growing Hispanic population.

“I marvel about the sacrifice priests like him make when they come here to serve,” he said. “He knows how to pray with the heart of the church.”

Sally Allegria of Marion worked with Father Kyaw to have a rosary garden built for the parish back in 2009. The priest spearheaded a similar project while he was administrator at St. Anne, and had a grotto of Our Lady of Guadalupe built in Dillon.

“He was very devoted to the Blessed Mother and the rosary garden was a special dream of his,” Allegria said. “He felt like it was a charge, really, to build the rosary gardens wherever he went.”

In a farewell letter to the diocese, Father Kyaw wrote that he was inspired to build the gardens and grotto so Mary would guide and protect the parishes.

“I do believe that as long as Mother Mary is standing there and people have the devotion to her, their churches will stay open in spite of hardship,” he wrote. “I am glad to see that annual shrines and feast days have been  celebrated since they were built.”

In Dillon, Father Kyaw led a small but remarkably diverse congregation of about 62 households that included long-time residents, retirees, Hispanics, Filipinos, and refugees from Africa. He worked with the parish council to build a new center so the different communities would have a place to meet and socialize.

He is thankful for the opportunity to serve in South Carolina and for the people who welcomed him.

“I want to give the credit to God for these years of serving Him and the people here,” he said. “Without His blessing and the loving care of Mary, mother of priests, it would have been impossible to accomplish what I did.”

  • Diocesan Events Calendar
    View All Events
    Nov 17 Diocese of Charleston Native American Catholic Heritage Celebration
    From the Calendar of Native American Ministry
    Nov 18 Vietnamese Martyrs Celebration
    From the Calendar of Vietnamese Ministry
    Dec 1 Black Catholics Heritage Celebration
    From the Calendar of African American Ministry
    Dec 15 Simbang Gabi for Filipino Catholics
    From the Calendar of Filipino Ministry
    Dec 25 Diocesan Television Christmas Special Fox 21
    From the Calendar of Ethnic Ministries
    Jan 412:00 am Class 2019 Ordination Retreat
    From the Calendar of Diaconate
    Jan 812:00 am Retiro Espiritual de Emmaus
    From the Calendar of Pastoral Juvenil
    Jan 1210:00 am Junta de Equipo Diocesano de Emmaus
    From the Calendar of Pastoral Juvenil
    Feb 911:00 am Ordination of Permanent Deacons
    From the Calendar of Diaconate