“We Catholics are to follow the example of Mary,” says Bishop Olivier at the June 10th, 2019, the feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of theCatholic Church. Bishop Olivier Schmitthaeusler of the Apostolic Vicariate of Phnom Penh, urged all Catholics gathered at the Queen of Peace Church (Areyksat) to follow the example of Mary.
The bishop highlighted the main events in Mary’s life, saying that She was willing to accept Jesus in Her womb with joy. She gave birth to Jesus who came on our earth. This was the true joy of Jesus. The bishop added that the Blessed Virgin Mary was the first and foremost disciple of Jesus in the most important stage when He had suffered hardships. It was the disciple who was sincere, with love and made great sacrifices and the disciple who understood Jesus’ Heart the most. She had entered most deeply and clearly into the Heart of God.
Bishop further said: “The Blessed Virgin Mary is a special model for us all who have received baptism to become Jesus’ disciple. While waiting after the ascension of Jesus, Mary receives the flame of the Holy Spirit with the Apostles. It was not Peter who went out and spread the Gospel first – Mary did it first.”
He pointed out that Mary had a transparent and purity of heart. She is a Holy person. She was an ordinary person like us, but God had elevated her to heaven, a feast we celebrate on 15th August each year. She shook hands with us, journeying with us, leading us to heaven where God dwells. It is a heaven filled with His love. It is a heaven where Mary had gone to first. The Bishop reminded all the Catholics, saying: “The Blessed Virgin Mary is waiting for us to enter heaven too. Day after day, She urges us to attentively serve, pray, listen to the Word of Jesus and pay our attention on doing the Will of God in Spirit as well as enable us to build the Christ’s Church.”
He further elaborated: “The Church is the hallmark of God’s Mercy leading us to remember Mary, who is the Queen of Peace, to pray for peace in the world, to petition Mary in order for us not to be afraid, and for each one of us to become disciples. It is the Blessed Virgin Mary, who serves, loves and minds the Will of God to build His Church in our world.”
A youth Chhan Srey Em from Saint Joseph Kdol Leu Parish in Tbong Khmum Province who attended the feast, testified thus: “Every time before doing something, I always pray and ask the Blessed Virgin May to help me with strength to continue my journey along the way of God and help protect my family.” When receiving baptism, Srey Em chose to take Mary as her patron.
She said: “I am happy to have Mary as my model because She is a mother – the mother of my family. It makes me warm, have the strength to continue my work.” She emphasised: “Especially when my younger sister gave birth to a baby, I prayed to Mary to help protect the mother and the newborn and they had been out of danger. The Blessed Virgin takes care of us.”