Catholic Order Hoping to Rebuild in Myanmar

June 16, 2008

Author: Mike Thomas

Source: The Chicago Sun-Times,CST-NWS-servite16.article

In early May, a monster cyclone ripped apart the southeast Asian country of Myanmar (formerly Burma), killing tens of thousands and mangling the landscape.

International relief efforts were immediately stalled by the country's ruling military junta, and several factors stemmed the flow of donations. A devastating earthquake in China that stole the media spotlight and redirected charitable giving was one of them.

Another was concern that money would be intercepted by the Myanmar government en route to victims. Experts have urged people to give through organizations that already had roots in the country before the cyclone. Still, not everyone's convinced that's foolproof.

But members of a Chicago-based Catholic Servite order say they've got connections that really work. They avoid potential meddling by funneling donations to Paris Foreign Missions in San Francisco and the Servite General Curia in Rome, which then send them on to Servite clergy members in Myanmar.