We mourned for our hero king Sihanouk for 7 days. Every evening at 7:00pm many catholic came and pray for the king in the chapel On 22 October evening there was a mass for the king more than 200 catholic came in the church to celebrated the mass for our hero king Sihanouk also.
Vong Rethy Photo by An RittyRath
Not long after I came to Battambang I noticed one morning that colorful banners had appeared along the paths surrounding the Church. What’s this? Well they signaled the arrival of Pchum ben.
This is a 15 day period of annual remembrance and special prayers for the souls of the dead.
A family or several families join together and adopt a day on which prayers are said at mass for their past family members and again in a special service later that same day.
After their services the family provides food to those attending.
At the start of morning mass the family members distribute smoldering joss sticks to the congregation who in turn place them before the altar and incense fills the air. Meanwhile, the priest reads aloud the names of departed family members ensuring accuracy of pronunciation so as not to cause any offence to the family. Oh poor Father. Today’s family has provided a list of 170 names!
As pchum ben now draws to an end I’m impressed how the church community remembers its departed souls in a Christian way which is sympathetic to Cambodia’s Buddhist culture and traditions.
Mr. Tony Fenlon Photo by Vong Rethy
Battambang: From 18-20 September 2012 there is a seminary for all the Kindergarten teachers in Battambang prefecture. Every year there is a seminary before reopening class start and also wants to train all the teachers before they start teaching. In this seminar teach them about the strange games, painting, and the technique how to teach the children understanding as soon as. There are 56 teacher from other communities came and participated. They are from Kompong thom, Kompong Chnang, Siem Reap, PoiPet, Tahen, Chomnom, Pailin, and Battambang. In this seminary were leaded by 5 sisters. They are helpful to find out about, difference of games, songs, and the technique in teaching.
The last day of the seminary Mgrs: Kike Figarido and other three priests Fr. Totet, Fr. Manoj, and Fr. Pedro also joined in the seminary to ‘give them the certificate that they completed training course for three days.
Mgrs: KIKE Shared: Before our prefecture there are just only a few kindergartens because we were poor with the teachers and we have a lot of children came to study. And we didn’t have a good leader as sisters. So we work with the hard situation. The children need good teachers came and help and take care of them. I am very happy that there are a lot of teachers came today and trained them self. We have good sisters also that always help and lead all the teachers, and give them the new knowledge that they have. Other hand it is also our prefecture needs to develop the human resource .
The 6:00 evening mass yesterday, September 3, 2012 was quite different than any other Monday evening masses. The church was packed as Fr. Manoj Ekka, SJ and Fr. Totet Banaynal, SJ concelebrated the mass and the choir for the Sunday mass did
The singing. The mass was certainly a special one since it opened the 2012 Diocesan Youth & Catechists Synod.
This year’s synod theme tags as "Faith Is A Gift From God." There are 207 young people and catechists from different provinces under the tutelage of the Apostolic Prefecture of Battambang such as Kompong Chanang, Pursat, Siem Reap, Pailin, Kompong Thom, Banteay Mencheay and Battambang province.
After dinner, the formal opening of the synod was highlighted with a gospel reflection led by Fr. Pedro Gomez, the chairman of the synod. A procession from behind the audience to the stage by Fr. Pedro bringing the holy bible with two candle bearers started the refection. The gospel was taken from John 4: 14, about Jesus’ encounter of a Samaritan woman at a well which read: ““Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” It was interpreted through a dramatization which captured the feelings of the participants.
Mgrs. Kike welcomed the delegates after the gospel reflection. He also blessed the water used to bless the participants. Each parish was called and representatives got up on the stage for the blessing. Most of the priests in the entire prefecture were present in the opening program. Several sisters coming from different parishes are also participants of the synod.
There are 3 main purposes in the synod
1. Give the youth and catechists good communication to each other.
2. Give the youth and catechists good communication with Lord through prayer, listen, and practicing the Gospel.
3. Give them through the theme “Jesus met Summary women…….” John 4, 1-38.
In the first day of the synod they discussed about them “Where is the faith from” and the second day they discussed about “What does the faith push us to do?” And the last day they also discussed about “ how do we catechize?” in this three they learn and share about their faith to each other well.
Fr. Pedro shared: I am very happy in this year because the youth and catechists had meeting to each other that we have never before. In this synod there are many icons as the well that we already performed, the water of the life, and especially the bible that is the food to feed our spiritual. Love and Mercy will be change the mine of the people who far away from God will beck and live near him.
Mgrs. Kike shared: The faith is a gift from 100% and we are son and daughter of God should receive from him100% as he gave us. We already discussed before about the strategy of our prefecture for 5 year from 2010-2015. We have 4 important strategies 1. Values formation, 2. Education, 3. Faith formation, 4. Leadership. We should continue to follow our strategies it will helpful in our communities in Battambang prefecture.
Living as a catholic life we should show your faith to other people around you. Life of prayer, Take care of our Liturgy, know how to serve other, and create a good habit in your society
The Apostolic Prefecture of Battambang is blessed to have many people interested to extend help in the different ministries. People coming from different corners of the globe come to volunteer for a short or long period of time. Some share their time and expertise for a couple of days, for a week, a month, a year or two and even more. Volunteers are spread out to different parishes depending on their work interest and suitability. Medical practitioners such as doctors and nurses, and dental practitioners such as dentists may have been the most number of volunteers every year. Youth groups conducting summer camps and short activities to communities also have a big chunk of the volunteers coming for the year-round. Indeed, there is a variety of professions, skills, and talents that volunteers including lay missionaries and seminarians having mission exposures bring in to the various ministries of the prefecture.
Recently, five volunteers have said adieu. Leticia Isasi Guerrero who is from Spain came in February 2012. She was helping in coordinating some of the programs of Bishop Kike for the entire prefecture and was stationed in Battambang. She left for further studies at Georgetown University in Washington DC. Min Jung Kim also known as Anna was stationed in Kompong Thom. She taught English with the students living at the parish hostel with elementary to high school students. She also educates them in personal hygiene and conducts other personality development activities. Originally from Korea, Anna had to reinstate with her job in Australia as nurse after her three months stint.
Gordon Kao serves the parish in Siem Reap for a year. He hails from Taipei, Taiwan and acted as manager of the computer training course and Chinese and English classes that his organization sponsored as part of the parish educational programs. He plans to get a job back home and is hoping to be back in Cambodia when he saves enough money and continue to serve the Khmer youth. Harold de Witte is a seminarian from Belgium. He came to witness how Catholics who are not even one percent of the total population in Cambodia live amidst the Buddhist majority. He hops from one community to another during his two months stay to get a glimpse of how people live their faith. KC Doctolero came to Svay Sisophon last year from Manila, Philippines. She helped set up the website of the parish. She moved to Battambang in May of 2012 to update the website of the Our Lady of the Assumption Parish Church.
This month of September, there are some volunteers who will also bid goodbye. But just like as the saying goes: “when God closes the door he opens a window,” after some volunteers will leave, there are also many other generous people who are eager to come and offer their services.
By: Blas Descallar, JVP
Jesuit Volunteers Philippines
On 21 August 2012 there are some guest from Korea came and visit to our Lady of Assumption parish. And they also showed their ability to the parish with the music performance. This group name Music for One. There are 10 people in the group some are student from university of Korea. They came to Cambodia is not only visit but they want to make a communication with the Cambodian through the Music and they also want Cambodian interest with the music as the world like it. In the beginning of the performance the parish also welcomes them with tradition blessing dance. There are around 200 people came to visit them in the church including Fr. Pedro, Br. Soo young, Br. Pilo and Mrgs. Kike.
Mrgs. Kike shear: We are happy that you came to visit us and thank that you showing us about your ability with your great us in our parish. We believe that art and music will be make us feel communicate to each other.
The 2nd Battambang Taekwondo Competition held at Dewey International University concluded today, August 19, 2012. The competition was participated by more than ten teams coming from different places including Siem Reap and Phnom Penh. Our very own Catholic Team harvested 8 medals – 3 gold, 1 silver and 4 bronze. Our little dancers also performed at the awarding ceremony. The traditional ensemble performed the music with our youth group singing which made the Catholic community presence unique and awesome.
For many years Bro. Mong Ros tried hard to find God in his life. He chose to become a servant of God and though the way is long and hard, he has recently taken another step closer to becoming a priest.
On 12 August 2012, his installation as an acolyte for the Battambang Prefecture was celebrated in Our Lady of the Assumption Parish. The mass was celebrated by Msgr. Enrique Figaredo, SJ who nominated him to become an acolyte. Bro. Ros' family was invited to mass as the community witnessed as he received his function as an acolyte. An acolyte has a special role during the celebration of the Eucharist, he is the one who gives the Bread and Blood of God to other people, and also helps out during special events of the church.
During the mass, Msgr. Kike shared to Bro. Ros: "Bro. Ros you have to serve and thank God who has chosen you to become his servant. When you become an acolyte, you have to be with care and full of mercy. You have to follow Jesus and encourage everyone; the sick, the elderly, and others. Give them hope from God. The people are the living Body and Blood of Jesus Christ."
Br. Mong Ros shared: "I am ready to serve our church and its people. I am here in the heart of the Catholic Church. I have a new role as an acolyte. This function may be simple as a servant in the Mass but the real service takes place in the soul. That means, I am not the one who gives the Bread and the Wine. It is God who has given us his real Body and Blood, through his Son... "
BATTAMBANG: On 12 August 2012 a large celebration was held in Our Lady of the Assumption Parish in honor of the Feast of the Assumption. Every year our parish celebrates this feast in praise of Our Lady.
A week before the celebration the feast day, the Catholic community hosted prayer for Our Lady in their respective households. Several families welcomed the small replica of the Our Lady of the Inclusive Love and prayed the rosary in her honor. On the day before the feast, Taizé evening prayers were also conducted in the house of the faithful.
On Sunday morning the procession started from one of the Catholic households near the compound. Msgr. Enrique Figaredo, SJ, Fr. Totet Banaynal, SJ, Fr. Manoj Kumar Ekka, SJ, and Fr. Bruno COSME from Phnom Penh led the procession and the mass.
In the Mass Fr. Kike shared: "Today we are happy to celebrate the Feast of the Assumption. God chose Our Mary to be a Great Lady. Mary is a simple Lady but she held firm in her faith and belief in God. She is also humble to the other people. So I would like you to follow Our Lady; learn how to be humble, and pray to God through Our Lady Mother of Jesus Christ. Let's pray together with her to God. Thanks be to God who gave us the Great Lady to lead us."
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BATTAMBANG: On 8-30 August 2012, a group of 20 volunteer dentists from Spain has come to volunteer their time and services to those in need. The group was divided into 3 to serve different communities for village and prison outreach.
They performed general dental services such as checking, cleaning, filling in and pulling out teeth in Pet Yiey Chee from 8:00AM to 12:00PM and 2:00PM to 4:00PM. An average of 20 people come every day for the free services.