The Church of Kampong Cham was the center of attention on Sunday but surrounding churches from Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, and Cambodia were all represented for this installation of Bruno Cosme as the new apostolic prefect of Kampong Cham.
For the first time Bruno wore the distinctive vestments of a bishop. Here he opens a package to remove the miter (hat) that is unique to the bishops.
Finally all the bishops and senior guests were vested and a group photo was made. The cardinal from Vietnam was the presiding bishop.
Fr. Girard, from the Kampong Cham prefecture, was the master of ceremonies for the occasion and gave last-minute instructions on where we were to sit and how to proceed.
The sanctuary area of the tents. Note that the sanctuary was graced by two crystal chandeliers!
About 500 or 600 people attended the ceremony, coming from all three dioceses of Cambodia.
A real bonus for this ceremony is that all the clergy were told they could keep their shoes on. In Cambodian culture, shoes are never worn in a sacred place and usually the 40 or 50 priests, when they get to the altar, have to remove their shoes and deposit them in a pile. It is time consuming and awkward and is even worse when each man tries to recover his shoes on the way out. I’m hoping this is a harbinger of things to come.
After making a profession of faith and of obedience to the pope and ecclesiastical authorities, Msgr. Bruno received the miter as a symbol of his new office.