Maryknoll Bangkok House

One of the nice things about being part of Maryknoll is that through the years there was always a place to stay in many countries in Asia where Maryknoll had a presence. This photo is of a third-floor porch at the Maryknoll house in Bangkok. It’s not much for scenery but being able to stay at the house while I am in Bangkok for medical exams is wonderful.

Priests Retreat — Days 4 & 5

On Friday evening, the priests had a barbecue outside at the pastoral center.

Bishop Olivier used it as an opportunity to announce all the clergy changes and to what parishes different priests were going.
The annual retreats have always been a special occasion for the priests, a time to get together with friends who are far separated in the provincial parishes.
The next morning representatives from the parishes and groups and the faithful of the diocese came together with the priests to discuss ideas for Pope Francis’ synod.
All those attending were divided into four groups to give final recommendations for the synod document.

Apologies

I was fully prepared to keep posting updates here for each day of the retreat. It’s just that the wi-fi system at the pastoral center did not cooperate. The last two nights, when I was ready to post photos and comments, I could not gain access to the Internet at the center.

Priests Retreat–Day 1

Traditionally all the priests of Cambodia had a retreat together the first week of June. Because of Covid there was a two-year hiatus, but this year the diocese of Phnom Penh organized a smaller gathering of only the Phnom Penh priests at the diocesan pastoral center on the outskirts of Phnom Penh.

Fr. Alberto, from the Kampong Cham diocese, presented a talk each morning of the retreat.
The afternoon session was led by Bishop Olivier Schmitthaeusler.
In the evening I sneaked out of the retreat to attend a farewell for Liz Pfifer, the outgoing country representative for Catholic Relief Services, and a welcome for her replacement. Marc D’Silva (c) organized the gathering.

Church Construction

Here are some photos of the construction of the new St. Joseph Church at the beginning and end of April, 2022.

3 April 2022: Progress is definitely being made.
30 April 2022:The end of the workday as dusk falls.
More 30 April: On the edge of the construction pit, a swarm of workers removed a section of the fence that had enclosed the worksite and leveled out the area with new dirt.
1 May 2022: the next morning a truckload of sections for a construction crane had been deposited on the site where the workers removed the fence.
1 May 2022: The crane will be assembled and operated in the area where the section of fence was removed.

Two years ago…

Recently we went over to World Vision to get some things out of our storage cabinets there that we could use for Holy Week. We had our weekly Saturday evening mass there for years. When I opened the missal for mass over there, it was set for the Second Sunday of Lent–the last Sunday we had mass in World Vision, in March 2020. After that mass the government closed all the schools, churches, etc. We haven’t been able to go back since then….

Phnom Penh pastoral center

Bishop Olivier has been a builder in his twelve years as bishop of Phnom Penh Diocese. He had to be because there wasn’t much church infrastructure when he took over.

One site he acquired and has developed is the diocesan pastoral center on the edge of the city. It has accommodations for retreats, rooms for meetings, and is a good place for the diocese to concentrate services and activities.

Here are some glimpses of some of the surroundings there.

Post-meeting Photo

This afternoon Maryknoll Cambodia met with Bishop Olivier to discuss Maryknoll’s work and longevity in Cambodia. After a good meeting, we posed at a Khmer New Year display set up on the ground of the pastoral center. (L to R: Fr. Charlie, Bishop Olivier, Sr. Helene O’Sullivan, Sr. Regina Pellicore, Fr. Kevin Conroy, St. Paul)