MIL-OSI Translation: ASIA/CAMBODIA – A community linked to the experience of the martyrs

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MIL OSI Translation. Region: Italy –

Source: The Holy See in Italian

Catholic Cambodia

Phnom Penh (Agenzia Fides) – “Ours is a small Church deeply linked and connected to the experience of the martyrs. Our young Cambodians are trained in the Seminary where the Cambodian Bishop Joseph Chmar Salas lived, a figure for whom the Cambodian Church opened the diocesan process for the proclamation of martyrdom, together with 34 companions. The investigation is very long and difficult. The Khmer Rouge destroyed all useful documents. Those that exist are preserved in archives and locations outside Cambodia. The research work is very long and difficult. We hope that, in the Jubilee year, there will be an acceleration of the diocesan phase of the cause”, Father Paul Chatsirey Roeung, a Cambodian priest of the Apostolic Vicariate of Phnom Penh who is Postulator of the cause of beatification, tells Agenzia Fides. Every year, the Postulator recalls, the Cambodian faithful participate in a solemn celebration to remember the martyrs of the Khmer Rouge regime (1975–1979). “After that time – he recalls – there was a slow recovery. The Church, under the Khmer Rouge regime, had lost everything, there were no bishops, priests, nuns, catechists. And then, for the next 15 years, once the regime fell, the Catholics were still in a state of clandestinity. In 1990, when the Church was not yet officially recognised, worship was authorized and the Christian communities were gradually reconstituted. Today we remember the historic date of 7 April 1990, when the central committee of the People’s Revolutionary Party of Cambodia allowed the opening of a Church and the celebration of the Khmer new year according to the Christian rite. And on April 14, 1990, Holy Saturday, 1,500 Christians gathered in a theater to finally celebrate Easter. There were, throughout the country, around 2,000 faithful who survived the regime”. In 1993 religious freedom was granted by the new Constitution and in March 1994 diplomatic relations were established with the Holy See: thus the ecclesial path to building “a Church with a Cambodian face”. “Today in three ecclesiastical jurisdictions (a Vicariate and two Apostolic Prefectures) with a total of 25 thousand faithful, we have a total of 14 Cambodian priests and around 100 missionaries and religious who have arrived from abroad, but the Catholic Church does not yet have legal personality and is considered a NGO, which promotes social works, while every two years each community must request and renew its permit for worship”, he reports. “We have young communities, made up of people who have recently accepted the Christian faith. Suffice it to say that every year we celebrate baptisms of young people and adults: last Easter, in the Apostolic Vicariate of Phnom Penh, 185 young people received Baptism, together with the other Sacraments of “Christian initiation” (Confirmation and Eucharist). In the major seminary today there are 4 young Cambodians, while boys and adolescents who feel called to the priesthood can have their first experience of community and service in the local parishes”, he explains. The Postulator concludes: “In the Cambodian Church there are problems and challenges such as globalization and secularization. To keep the faith alive and move forward on the journey, the inspiration and reference to our martyrs is always a precious source of grace”. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 06/06/2024)Share:

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and/or sentence structure not be perfect.

MIL Translation OSI