Update March 2010
Fr David received the following very interesting news from the parish he visits at Siem Reap in Cambodia. Please keep these communities in your prayers:
On February 21, on the First Sunday of Lent, we had the Rites of Election in Siem Reap. There were 67 adults called by Bishop Kike during the Mass . Of these, 3 people are from Kompong Thom, 22 people from Taom, 16 people from Prek Toal and 26 from Siem Reap. As for the plan of baptismal ceremonies, in Siem Reap parish, we arrange as follows. Easter Sunday, baptism in Siem Reap. On Wednesday, April 7, baptism in Taom and on Thursday, April 8, baptism in Prek Toal floating village. On Sunday, February 28, there was the rites of Election for communities near Battambang. I heard that there are 41 people who joined in the Rites of Election, 5 of them are from Prek Toal.
The baptism in Taom will be vey special. First, we will commemorate the 129 years anniversary of foundation of the Catholic community in Taom. Secondly, since 1970, the church was deserted, because the Vietnamese Catholic in Taom (and elsewhere in Cambodia) had to leave Cambodia due to Vietnamese war and the political tension between Cambodian and Vietnamese governments. Now, after 40 years of absence, a new Catholic community will be born anew. Before, it was Vietnamese community, now it is Khmer community. We celebrate a new church being reborn. That is why Bishop Kike will come to Taom and Prek Toal for baptism. The Apostolic Nuncio will come from Thailand and join the celebration. For this celebration we need a lot of preparations: places for liturgical celebration, for meals, for parking etc. As you know, the place in Taom is very small. We bought some pieces of land near the church over the years. Now, they offer more pieces around the church for us to buy, but we do not have money at present.
During this visit, the Nuncio will bless our new Library in Taom (the one that the students from Holy Innocents and from Anglo Chinese built) and bless 20 wells that we built last year for the families in Taom. He will also put the first stone that will be used as the corner stone for the building of An Education and Pastoral Center in Taom. Mgr. Kike, our Bishop, told us that we will make this celebration a big one for the people. We will invite priests, religious and representatives of the people from every community in the Diocese of Battambang to attend our celebration.
The baptism in Prek Toal will mark the birth of a new floating Catholic community whose members are all Khmer people. We have prepared the people and we have been waiting for this moment since 2006. There are 33 people who have recieved the first Blessing but only 26 will be ready for baptism on Friday after Easter, on April 9. May be some children will also be baptised on that day.
For your information, now in Taom we have over 30 old people who started preparation for the First Step earlier last month. More are coming still. Hopefully many of them will receive the First Blessing next year before Christmas and may be in 2011, they will be ready for the Rites of Election. It seems that the harvest of soul is coming.
Our farm has developed well. We have planted more than 500 fruit trees and another 700 different kinds of trees. The fruit trees start to bear fruits. It is now very hot. We need a lot of water. We plan to set up water pump powered by solar energy. We also want to make traditional irrigation system by making use of the water from the river near our farm. Our learning centers have more children now. We provide free education for the poor in our learning centers. The rice soup program is still our priority to help poor children. Every week, we feed over 1000 children in our learning centers.
We are also preparing for the Episcopal ordination of Fr. Olivie to become Coadjutor Bishop of Phnom Penh. The ordination will be on March 20. Please pray for him and for the church in Cambodia.
I hope these short news give you some ideas that our church is growing as we pay more attention and love to the poor. Thanks again for your Love, for your prayers and for your generous support to our Mission. God bless you abundantly. Please continue to pray for us as we also pray for you. How we would be very happy if you can join us in these celebrations. If not, at least you can pray for us. We need a lot of it. Thanks for your plan to visit us this coming April. How I hope that you will be with us for the baptism next month. We are all looking forward to welcoming you in Siem Reap.
With Much Prayers and God's Blessings,
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