May Lay Missioner Meeting

Every month lay missioners from many different sending groups and different countries meet in a support group in Phnom Penh.

In the meeting today, Maryknoll Sister Regina Pellicore gave a reflection on the rosary. It was both interesting and substantive because most people just start saying the rosary as children and no one ever explains or discusses how to pray with it.

The lay missioners gathered today came from eight different countries.

Maria Montello worked out an activity, actually making individual rosaries as part of a prayer together. The activity was followed by a dinner prepared by Maria and Kila Reimer.

CACD: 1st quarterly meeting

The Catholic Alliance for Charity and Development (CACD) is the social outreach arm of the Catholic Church of Phnom Penh. Maryknoll participates because of our projects with deafness, mental illness, and education. Today the topic was the role of technology and digitalization in serving the poor, and an amazing presentation was given by Mr. Sok Sopheakmonkol who demonstrated what artificial intelligence can do to assist NGOs like ours.
A second presentation about software and technology in monitoring, evaluation, accountability, and learning in NGOs was given by Mr. Art Kirby, the director of Catholic Relief Services in Cambodia.

It was quite and interesting and informative afternoon!

International Lay Missioners–March

A group of lay missioners from various countries tries to get together in Phnom Penh almost every month for socializing and talking shop and just being together in a place away from home.

The group that met today had missioners from Italy, the Philippines, Korea, Haiti, Kenya, Honduras, Cambodia, and the United States.
The format and content of the gatherings varies. Today Jesuit Fr. Ingun Kang spoke about his work with interreligious dialogue, especially with Buddhism.
Fr. Ingun is on a Vatican commission promoting interreligious dialogue around the world.
After his presentation the group continued talking and questioning with some snacks.

One Year of War

Friday marked one year since Russia invaded Ukraine.  This morning at the English mass we had about fifteen people from Ukraine join us for mass.  Most of them were Orthodox.  They were gathered by a parishioner from Ukraine who is a lector and coordinates our church Facebook page.  Last night we invited Ukrainians to come also and had four for that service.

Both times it was a really moving experience.  I welcomed them at the beginning of mass, our Ukrainian lector did the prayers of the faithful, I mentioned them in the homily, and then at the end we brought them all forward and the community blessed them.  I was happy we had the opportunity to support them with prayer and just as happy that our community could have an actual event of expressing care and concern for justice and peace and for the people suffering so much.  The war isn’t just CNN notifications on our phone but real people, individuals and a nation, hurting.

[I was surprised we had that many people from Ukraine in Phnom Penh!]

Lay Missioners Meeting

For more than 25 years, lay missioners from different countries who are working in Cambodia have gathered mostly monthly for friendship, socialization, and mutual support. Covid prevented meetings for two years but today the group met at the Maryknoll office to resume the monthly schedule.

Caritas from Korea (R) was a new member of the group joining us today. Here she chats with Julie.
Marie from Haiti (L), here talking to Kila at the break, was another new member.
Pilar from Spain (R) was the third newcomer to the group.
(L to R): Kylene, Marie, Pilar, and Cristina at the break.

Taiwan Trip-Thursday

Thursday and Friday were good days, with more presentations and reports and plans for the future. All in all it was a very good meeting, one of the best of my whole Maryknoll career.

Here are some final photos, of the building and grounds where we met at the Maryknoll house in Taichung.

The front of the Maryknoll center house.
Going around the side of the building to buildings in back.
The Maryknoll language school on the right and an office building on the left.
A glimpse of the Taichung neighborhood setting.


Taiwan Trip-Wednesday (Part 4)

After visiting the bishop’s office, we walked down the street to another building where a program for migrants was explained. The diocese has so many programs helping people! It is really wonderful!

One building housed a food pantry that operates on a large scale. Here one of the staff showed us a storeroom in the center.
The next stop was this center for people with disabilities. It has a coffee shop and also an area for selling bags, soap, handicrafts, and many other items made by the mostly young people with disabilities.
Bishop Martin (R) really went out of his way to welcome us and accompany us as we visited the different offices and programs in his diocese.
Our final stop for the day was a Chinese banquet at a hotel. It was delicious and also gave us a chance to talk more with some of the diocesan staff.

Taiwan Trip-Wednesday (Part 3)

The next stop was the bishop’s office.
The office staff had created a special banner just to welcome our group for our visit.
We toured the building and visited the circular chapel on the fourth floor.
A permanent exhibit on the ground floor presented the history of the early days of the Taichung Diocese and featured many Maryknollers.
Fr. John, one of the office staff, gave an interesting overview of the diocese.
Charlie and friend. This type of statue was featured in the Taichung Lantern Festival we visited Sunday night.

Taiwan Trip-Wednesday (Part 2)

The next stop on our afternoon tour was is the unofficial Filipino parish, a community center for refugee workers where they can gather.
Upstairs, in a large hall, 500 Filipino migrant workers gather for mass every Sunday.
The many decorations, statues, and pictures reflect the popular religious devotion of Filipino culture.
One wall has a display of angel statues, probably set up at Christmas time.
At the rear of the large hall, upstairs is an emergency shelter for women who are having employment or medical problems or legal issues.