The Catholic Church in Cambodia held a seminar on vocations with the theme a “Good Pastor” to coincide with the 56th vocation day worldwide. The seminar took place on 28-29 April 2018 at the Chapel of St. Peter and Paul in Phnom Penh Thmei with hundreds of Catholic youth from the three dioceses in Cambodia present.
Commencing the seminar, Fr. Un Son a committee member for the youth and vocations, thanked Bishop Olivier Schmittaeusler of the Apostolic Vicariate of Phnom Penh for always making strenuous efforts in education and opening his heart wide to oganize the vocation day.
At the seminar, His Lordship Bishop Olivier instructed the youth on the meaning of the letter of the Holy Father, Pope Francis for this day. The Bishop encouraged the participants by saying: “Today Pope Francis allows us to reflect on the youth because the youth and their vocation in the Church is a special strength of the present Church.”
Bishop Olivier went on to say that the Catholic youth who have faith in Jesus leading their lives, must have joy as they lead other non-Catholic youth to discover the light coming out of us by witnessing: “First, be silent and listen to the Word of God. Second, consider everything in a spiritual manner. Third, live by the Word of God putting it into practice in your personal life.”
One youth Long Lisopheavean from Phnom Penh Thmei Church showed her interest by saying: “This program enables me to think clearly the path I should choose for the future and it also enlightens me more clearly, which way I should decide to help the Church. Not only in the parish I belong to but with other parishes in Cambodia.” The youth added that the help she got was to see more in the advice of the Bishop to make good decisions at difficult moments. She mentioned that Fr. Phan Borei did emphasize: “There are priests and nuns who help to open the way for us by setting an example to make right decision.” What she saw is the love that the priests, the bishops and the nuns have shared during every activity and in prayer, which is like opening wide our hearts.”
Miss Long Lisopheavean emphasized that although she had yet to decide to join any community, she continues to pray and know more from the nuns about religious life.
The seminar has helped the youth to reflect on religious life through education by the Bishop himself, testimonies from the priests and nuns and even through videos on the faith and church models, etc.
Every year, the Catholic Church in Cambodia prepares the youth of the three dioceses to gather on vocation day in the month of May. A vocation camp will be oganized in Preah Sihanouk province in September in order for the youths to reflect on religious life and the role of Catholics in their Gospel life.
The local Church always encourages the youth to reflect on God’s calling through groups like Emanuel and Samuel for the youth. In particular, the Apostolic Vicariate of Phnom Penh always holds overnight prayer service for vocations every year for the last three years and the activity still continues.