Diocesan Youth Day

This weekend was a Diocesan Youth Day for the Church of Phnom Penh. Bishop Olivier generates an endless stream of activities and publications and other events to keep the church active and engaged. For this youth day pastoral centers in the lower half of the state gathered their youth together and then all were united with video hookups. Click here to see some of the happenings.

Meeting with the bishop

A lot of changes are in store for Maryknoll Cambodia in the months and years ahead and today Sr. Regina Pellicore, acting country representative for Maryknoll, and I had a meeting with Bishop Olivier. We want Maryknoll’s work to be part of the church so it is important for us to keep the bishop informed about what is happening. We had a very constructive discussion. Regina couldn’t get her computer camera to work!

Goodbye to a friend…

Yesterday we had the funeral for Fr. Toni Vendramin, a PIME priest who was long-term missionary in Cambodia (and Bangladesh before that). He died two and a half weeks ago but because of COVID-19 we were prevented from gathering for his funeral until now. He was a good man and a good friend who would help with our English masses when I had to be away.

Liturgy online

During this stage of the pandemic, churches are not allowed to have in-person services so we have started a simple online mass for the English Catholic Community. We use a little makeshift chapel at the Maryknoll office. Here Sr. Regina prepares to proclaim the first reading for this weekend’s mass. Thank goodness it looks much better on the video than in reality!

Chrism Mass

Normally every year a week or two before Easter, the bishop blesses the holy oils used for Catholic sacraments. This year, because of Covid-19, certainly hasn’t been normal and we didn’t have the chrism mass until today–and with just fifteen representative priests rather than the whole presbyterate as is the long established and revered custom. Here three large silver containers filled with the oils wait for the blessing.

Doing what we can

Today the Catholic Alliance for Charity and Development (CACD) had an online meeting to review the church’s outreach in the Covid-19 pandemic. Caritas Cambodia has been organizing the outreach and presented really sad numbers concerning the great needs of the poor people. One group that has been especially hard hit are the inmates in Cambodia’s not-so-good prisons. This photos is of a group of prisoners receiving food aid. [Note the second woman in the middle row has her child with her.]

Priests Retreat 2

Today was Day 3 of the 2021 priests retreat for Phnom Penh. Our retreat leader is the head of the Thai Mission Society in Bangkok and the 40 priests are scattered throughout the southern third of Cambodia.