Do you have yours?

Pope Francis has been vaccinated against the coronavirus, calling it a lifesaving, ethical obligation and saying the refusal to be vaccinated is suicidal. A coalition of Catholic groups, including Maryknoll, support the pope’s emphasis on being vaccinated. And just this morning, the Maryknoll Cambodia community received their first dose of AstraZeneca vaccine. #CatholicCares

Registering for vaccinations

Khmer New Year–Day 2

On the way to a hospital to get our first dose of AstraZeneca vaccine, the Maryknoll group passed Wat Phnom, the spiritual center of Cambodia. It was decorated for the new year but no one was there because yesterday afternoon the government imposed a lockdown on Phnom Penh with just five or six hours notice.
The government rarely does things simply and clearly. Yesterday they announced that the lockdown would start at midnight. Today the papers said it started at 12:00 April 15th. Was that yesterday midnight or tonight midnight? The police apparently thought it was yesterday midnight because they had streets blocked off when we finished getting the vaccine.


Maryknoll Fr. Joe Veneroso is a poet who takes the themes of our belief and theology and puts them into a form that sings their meaning to us. We are still in the Easter Season–and will be for several more weeks. Let us not forget what Easter means for us. Here is Fr. Veneroso’s Easter message:

“We stand at the foot of the cross and
Cannot help but wonder why

Undergo such sacrifice and
Unspeakable suffering and humiliation.

As if reading our unspoken thoughts, he says,
‘Do you still not see or understand?
Nothing you can do, no sin you can commit
Will ever make me stop loving you.’

And with that he bows his head and dies.
Before daybreak we rise to walk
Alongside the mourning, myrrh-bearing women.

The stone removed, our sadness devolves into despair.
An empty tomb taunts us with renewed doubts.
Grave robbers? The owner? The wrong tomb? Or. . .
‘Why seek the living among the dead?’
He says our name.
He whom we thought dead now lives again
We rush back with Magdalene
To spread the Good News and henceforth

To live for him who died and rose for us. Amen. Alleluia.”

Now, the real thing….

Usually we find out how many COVID-19 infections were detected in Cambodia in one day in the newspaper the following morning, but today so many people tested positive the government announced at 2:30 PM that they had 576 infections already for today. To put that into perspective, we had about 350 infections for ALL OF 2020. That is a minuscule number compared to other countries but it’s a very significant shift for Cambodia where we don’t have a strong healthcare system. I suspect we’re in for strict measures to try to cope with the sudden increase.

New “old” staff

Today Nob Samnang (L) came to her first day of work at DDP as administrator. On the front porch to welcome her were (L to R): Russ Brine, Sau Soknym, and Thuch Sophy.
Later Russ (L) and Soknym began an orientation for Samnang. She actually worked for DDP before but left to get married and move to Battambang. Now back in Phnom Penh, she heard that the administrator position was open and we were pleased to be able to hire someone with both experience and sign language.


I’m standing in a little street near our house where the street dead ends in a market. It’s a two-lane street but notice how a house has been built out into the street, completely taking over one lane. The house with the brick wall and the orange cooler in front is not supposed to be there but the builder of the house paid someone off or started with a little food cart there and then took off the wheels and put it on blocks and then put an awning over it and then closed in the sides and then…. until finally it is a full-blown house. Notice that once the first house was established, neighbors appeared beside them so that there are now three or four family structures there side-by-side. The Kingdom of Wonder….