Clergy Retreat–Friday

Today was the final day of retreat.

Actually this is a photo from yesterday. The last event of Thursday was the beginning of an all-night prayer vigil. The diocese organizes one of these vigils every month on a Thursday, and people–for this vigil, the priests–take turns praying throughout the night, especially for vocations.

The mass today was organized by all the newest priests now working in Cambodia.

Coming back to bedding differences…. This is a Cambodian blanket. It’s the size of a large beach towel and just about as heavy. It’s just six feet long so again it can’t be tucked in and your feet stick out the bottom.

Fr. Rayappan finished his lectures today and Bishop Olivier presented him with a statue of virgin and child carved by people with disabilities at a Jesuit training center here.

We have always gone to the Don Bosco Training Hotel for supper on our last retreat night, but now with the Chinese influx into Sihanoukville, the new construction and traffic has made travel times impractical so we just stayed at the center for our final meal together. Bishop Olivier together with priests from seven other countries.

Luckily it rained early in the day and the moon was even out tonight so we could spread out our tables in the courtyard of the center.

No Cambodian celebration is complete without dancing and even though just four of the priests present were from Cambodia, a respectable group got up to make their moves.

An impromptu arrangement at the end had people from the different countries sing a little song from their homeland. Thomas and I were the only two from North America, and I showed the group the sign language version of “This Little Light of Mine.”