Easter Sunday

This is by far the most unusual Easter Sunday I have ever experienced. Probably many others–maybe most others–can say the same thing. It’s an unprecedented time for us.

Two reflections for the day:

1. When will I see you again…?

These are the Easter decorations now adorning the sanctuary at St. Joseph Church–but we are not allowed to gather there because of COVID-19. The Easter Season continues until Pentecost on 31 May. Will we have a chance to see these decorations before we have to take them down? [Thanks to Rita and Bede and Bertina Uwalaka for the decorating.]

2. An Easter video…

The coronavirus is seen as a single jet fighter attacking Italy….

I find this video really inspiring! A sudden explosion of resolve and determination to defeat an evil. And that is what Easter is–an explosion of new life and a union with Jesus that enables us to overcome the darkness, the fears, the tragedy in our lives.

Easter Vigil

This has been the strangest Holy Week of my life, and that’s probably true for almost anyone who has participated in the Holy Week and Easter liturgies over the years. The picture above is Bishop Olivier lighting the paschal candle at the Easter Vigil service in a small village church where he was staying during Holy Week. All group participation in religious services is banned so this official diocesan ceremony was streamed on Facebook Live.

Carmelite Sisters

In all of the excitement and turmoil that goes on in Phnom Penh and Cambodia and the world, the Carmelite Monastery in Phnom Penh is something of an island of quiet and serenity. The sisters go about their daily routine of prayer and work mostly oblivious to all that is happening outside their convent walls.

That serenity was disturbed recently as a young woman professed her first vows there in the process of becoming a Carmelite Sister.

Bishop Olivier presided over the ceremony. Before the mass, he conferred with the superior of the Phnom Penh Carmelites about the order of the service.
Quite a large number of people from Phnom Penh came to monastery–about twelve miles outside the city–to celebrate the profession with the sisters.
Sr. Marina (3rd left, with white veil) is a young woman from Korea who made her first profession at the ceremony.
The Korean Church has been very involved in and supportive of the Cambodian Church. There are quite a few Korean sisters and priests in the country and many of them came for the ceremony. Here some of them gather for a photograph with Sr. Marina’s parents.

Surprise…but not too much…

This is part of an emergency e-mail we sent out to the 591 people who subscribe to our English community e-mail newsletter. World Vision surprised us this morning with a phone call saying we cannot use their auditorium, which we rent for mass every Saturday evening, until after the Khmer New Year which ends on April 16th. We did a lot of scrambling, a lot of texting and e-mailing to notify as many parishioners as we could that there would be no mass tonight. Now we have to figure out what to do for the weeks ahead.

The Old Days

I was going through some old photos for a project for Bishop Olivier and I ran across this photo of our Saturday night mass when we used the Russian Cultural Center in Phnom Penh. This was in the year 2000.

Querida Amazonia 11

Pope Francis has published his apostolic exhortation Querida Amazonia. I will post some of the highlights from the document in which Pope Francis focuses on four dreams.

The Ecclesial Dream

I dream of Christian communities capable of generous commitment, incarnate in the Amazon region, and giving the Church new faces with Amazonian features. (7)

11. “In a synodal Church, those women who in fact have a central part to play in Amazonian communities should have access to positions, including ecclesial services, that do not entail Holy Orders and that can better signify the role that is theirs.” (103)