Today I went to the funeral of a colleague from the Philippines who died here. There aren’t many funerals in the Catholic churches in Cambodia because there aren’t many Catholics and because the Cambodian Catholics are mostly quite young and the foreign Catholics tend to be younger or robust middle age also. We don’t have a significant population of older foreigners living here. This was only the second or third time in twenty years that I have been at an actual funeral in a church with the body present. Most of the time I have funerals at the Buddhist wats (pagodas) where the body is to be cremated or else there is a simple ceremony at the morgue before a body is shipped to its home country for burial.
Every year on the Sunday when Epiphany is celebrated, Bishop Olivier invites parish leaders, sisters, brothers, and priests to a gathering. He gives a talk and updates on what is happening in the diocese, there are some performances, and then all are invited to eat together.
The Philippines Embassy in Phnom Penh was trying to recreate the spirit of the Simbang Gabi pre-Christmas devotions celebrated on the nine days before Christmas in the Philippines but limited it to three nights. The first two nights were Catholic masses but the third night was an ecumenical service with people attending from five Christian churches.