New Church: One more step

Today Bishop Olivier presided over the official start of the new church on the grounds at the St. Joseph Church compound.

When we arrived at St. Joseph Church at 9:00 AM, workers were finishing the set up for the ceremony while the parishioners were at the 8:00 AM mass in the present “old” church.
When our English community finished our mass (with baptisms), we found Bishop Olivier and Fr. Chatsirey, the St. Joseph Church pastor, receiving gifts of fruit from various organizations.
Now it’s official! Church construction has begun.
Actually, preliminary work has already started. The stacks of concrete blocks on the left are huge deadweights to measure the firmness and stability of the soil prior to laying the foundation of the church. On the ground next to the concrete blocks are concrete piles which will be driven into the ground to provide a better foundation not prone to sinking or subsidence.

Thanksgiving Day 2021

Maryknoll Cambodia celebrated Thanksgiving on Wednesday this year. We normally meet every Wednesday and have a woman who cooks for us on that day so to fit everyone’s schedule, it was easier just to celebrate the holiday a day early. No one would notice here

We began with a simple liturgy. Each week we have five or six others who join us for a liturgy and meal after our meeting and they came for the American Thanksgiving also.
Supply chain issues hindered us this year but we finally got a small turkey, and it turned out that with all the dishes different people cooked, we had plenty of food.
We had fifteen people gathered this evening, and when all the eating was finished, there was an opportunity just to sit and chat.

Water Festival

November 18, 19, 20 were the annual Water Festival holidays. This year, though, because of Covid-19, the boat races on the Tonle Sap River were canceled so the migration of two or three million people to Phnom Penh didn’t happen.

There are always aspects of Cambodia culture that we foreigners will never understand or fully appreciate. For me one of those is the association of the flower decorations pictured in the photographs with the Water Festival. They are of a Khmer style but their meaning, the origin of the design, how they are used is a mystery to me

These specialized designs were widely available in the markets and from street vendors.

And people bought them, maybe adding a bit of holiday cheer to a major Cambodian festival that suffered in its celebration in a pandemic year.

Well, we got the sink….

Cambodia has a lot of major problems: corruption, impunity, deforestation, trafficking, drugs, poor education, poverty, etc. And then there are the nuisances. When we moved our Maryknoll office to this building, we asked the landlord to put in a real sink in the kitchen. He did but the bottom of the sink is at knee level. It’s perfect for the Cambodian woman who cooks a few meals a week, though.