Sunday Liturgy

Today our Sunday liturgy was a little bit special. After the homily, Jay, one of our parishioners, received the sacrament of confirmation.

We celebrated the beginning of a new school year by inviting all our students–and even those not yet in school–to come forward after communion to receive a blessing.

Daughters of Charity

The Daughters of Charity, a congregation founded by St. Vincent de Paul, opened a new building near the airport in Phnom Penh and asked Bishop Olivier to come bless it.

The house is located in an area where thousands of garment factory workers live, and the sisters will take of the workers’ children during the day while the mothers are on the job.

Of course, every ceremony starts with a traditional blessing dance.

After a liturgy, Bishop Olivier went through the building and blessed the rooms with holy water, and then all the guests were invited for lunch.

Jesuit Ordination

Bishop Olivier prays the prayer of ordination over Fr. Damo while all the attending priests support the call for God’s Spirit to come upon Damo by extending their hands

After ordination, Fr. Damo is embraced by Bishop Olivier, marking a joyful end to years of preparation. Jesuits are usually ordained at an older age than diocesan priests, typically getting an advanced degree before they are deemed ready for priesthood.

At the end all the priests, Damo’s family, and Buddhist monks as invited co-workers get together.

Jesuit Ordination

Preparation before the ceremony

Yesterday’s post showed some of the preparations taking place all around the church compound the day before the ordination. These photos today show the immediate preparation as the priests gathered to vest and process to the sanctuary.

About 90 priests from maybe 2o countries came to Battambang for the ordination. Many of them were Jesuits participating in the celebration for a confrere.
Bishop Kike of Battambang and Damo before the ceremony.
All the current deacons in Cambodia (Damo in the center). The others will be ordained priests later this year.
A young man in a wheelchair led the entrance procession.
The procession from the bishop’s house to the ceremony site.

Jesuit Ordination

We arrived in Battambang about 1:00 PM on Friday for the ordination to be held on Saturday morning. Preparations were in full swing.

At the actual site of the ordination, chairs were set up for a reported 2,000 attendees.
Bishop Olivier went over the texts and different parts of the ceremony with the ministers for the next day.
Bishop Kike took photos of the young women who would perform the traditional welcome dance at the beginning of the ceremony.
Musicians with traditional Cambodian instruments accompanied the dancers for the rehearsal.
On another part of the church grounds, sleeping arrangements were prepared for the hundreds of overnight guests coming from far parts of Cambodia.
Then as night fell a simple meal was offered to those who had worked hard and would be staying overnight.

Jesuit Ordination

Yesterday and today, I was in Battambang at the Catholic center there, to participate in the ordination of Chour Damo as a Jesuit priest. The ordination was today. I went there yesterday because it is a 5+ hours drive from Phnom Penh. Yesterday as workers were preparing food, lodging, the church grounds, and the ordination site, I found Chour Damo together with his younger brother, Chour Darong who is the executive director of Krousar Thmey, an International NGO serving children at risk in Cambodia.

Chour Darong (L) and Chour Damo

New Lay Missioners

Today two new lay missioners (next to Fr. Charlie) from the Japan Lay Mission Movement came to the English mass at St. Joseph Church with the director of their program (L). They are studying Khmer language now and will eventually serve in Siem Reap and Battambang Provinces. Welcome!

Sunday of the Transfiguration and Hiroshima

A prayer for the Sunday on which we remember the Transfiguration and the bombing of Hiroshima

God of life, in a blaze of light on Mount Tabor, you transfigured Jesus, revealing him as your beloved son and promising us a share in his glory.

But in a blinding flash of warfare at Hiroshima we–the children who inherited the promise of glory–annihilated human life, disfigured the face of Christ, and mocked his gospel call to gentleness and peace.

Let the beacon of that gospel pierce again the clouds covering the earth, so that even in the darkness of these times we may believe your day will dawn. We ask this through Jesus Christ, your beloved Son who lives and reigns in the unity of Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever.  Amen.

New Salesian Sister

Today Sr. Chantha (with bag) took her first vows as a Salesian Sister. She attended the Salesian vocational training school where I have mass on Mondays, graduating from there about 10 years ago and then going through the formation period to become a sister. Here she is with her parents (1st and 4th from left) who are Buddhists.

Lay Mission Meeting

The lay missioners from mission-sending groups from various countries get together each month in a type of support group. This month they met at the MEP house on the Bassac River.

The session started with a prayer/reflection session in the chapel.
Then there was a break while a projector was set up.
The business part of the meeting was on a large outdoor porch overlooking the Bassac River.
Sr. Pilar, who runs an NGO for women abused and at risk, explained her program.
We concluded our afternoon with a networking activity.