The World

Cambodia prepares for Jubilee 2025

Cambodian Catholics in the Apostolic Vicariate of Phnom Penh are preparing to experience the Jubilee of 2025. Omnes spoke with Father Gianluca Tavola, a missionary of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME) in Cambodia since 2007.

Federico Piana-April 23rd, 2024-Reading time: 2 minutes

Catholics of the Apostolic Vicariate of Phnom Penh in Cambodia

Prayer and silence for a year. This is how the Cambodian Catholics of the Apostolic Vicariate of Phnom Penh are preparing to experience the 2025 Jubilee. In the Southeast Asian country, where Christians are a clear minority, around 0.2% of the total population, predominantly Buddhist, the Bishop of the Vicariate, Msgr. Olivier Michel Marie Schmitthaeusler, wanted the preparation for the upcoming Holy Year to become a tool for strengthening the faith and a useful example for evangelization. "After all, prayer is the foundation of our vocation, of our journey, of our conversion," Father Gianluca Tavola, a missionary of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME), in Cambodia since 2007, explains to Omnes.

The link with Mother Teresa

The Italian-born cleric, rector of the major seminary of Phnom Penh and responsible for the pastoral sector of three small Christian communities in the city of TaKhmao, located south of the capital, stresses that the bishop of the Vicariate wanted to link the celebration of the Year of Prayer to a phrase that Mother Teresa of Calcutta liked to say: "It is a very beautiful expression that says: the fruit of silence is prayer; the fruit of prayer is faith; the fruit of faith is love; the fruit of love is service; the fruit of service is peace."

Involving parishes and families

And precisely following these indications, in all the parishes and communities a prayer for vocations is celebrated every month and time is dedicated to listening to the Word of God, for example, through Lectio Divina. "But Monsignor Schmitthaeusler - says Father Tavola - has also asked the families to plan, at least once a week, to organize moments of common prayer lasting ten or fifteen minutes, accompanied also by some moments of reflection and thanksgiving".

Providential decision

For Father Gianluca Tavola, the convocation of the Year of Prayer and Silence in view of the Jubilee is a providential decision. Because, he says, "the Church in Cambodia - which in the last decade has worked hard for evangelization and the deepening of the faith - needs to come to a time of grace like the Holy Year with a relaxed respite, with a longer breath. Prayer, silence and rest will certainly do us good."

Young church

In Cambodia there are less than 30,000 Christians out of a total population of 16,000,000. The Church has one Apostolic Vicariate, that of Phnom Penh, and two Apostolic Prefectures, those of Battambang and Kompong-Cham. After a period of pain and oppression due to wars and regimes, "the Church was reborn in 1990", recalls the PIME missionary, according to whom "there are now more than one hundred priests, twelve of whom are Cambodians, while there is a good presence of religious and women's institutes, including lay people". A minority that represents a sign of love for our neighbor, concludes Father Tavola: "Thank God, in Cambodia there is freedom of worship, we have our dignity. And in society we are present in education and health care. We are small, but we love with a big heart".

The authorFederico Piana

 Journalist. He works for Vatican Radio and collaborates with L'Osservatore Romano.

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