Apostolic Vicariate of Phnom PenhDaily News

Kampot Church and Representatives from other Religions Prison Inmates

In order to share the joy on the occasion of Christmas, the Kampot pastoral sector initiated a visit to prison inmates at a Kampot city prison. Of the 92 inmates they visited 24 were females.  The visit to place on 10th January 2019 together when 40 representatives of the three major religions in Cambodia including those from the Buddhist faith, the Catholics and the Muslims including the deputy director of the department of cults in the province.

Commencing the talks, Fr. Gianluca Tavola, the parish priest of the Kampot pastoral sector spoke to all the inmates: “On the occasion of Christmas, we Catholics have great joy because our Savior is incarnate in a human form to free us all from sin.” The priest continued by saying that the Catholic Church, the Ministry of Cults and Religions and the major religions​representatives had come to meet the inmates with the aim of sharing love.

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Bishop Olivier Schmittaeusler of the Apostolic Vicariate of Phnom Penh stressed that Jesus the Saviour was not only for the Catholics, but also for all mankind. He further said that plants always need a light to bear fruits and the life of human beings alike. All fruits have been obtained by the deeds​ we have committed.

His Lordship also encouraged all the inmates not feel hopeless, but have a change of heart and give consideration to their mistakes and correct themselves for a better future. The Bishop added: “All you, the inmates, please spent time concentrating in order for the hearts to be appeased and to discover the value of life and your families to do everything for them to be happy. Some adjustments to your life are also to be made  in order to have value for yourselves and the whole of society.”

Mr. Khen Dorn, the deputy director of the department of Cults mentioned: “We all humans have the right to an education through religions freely, but we must abide by laws stipulated by our country. All religions are a means to transport mankind to receive happiness in the present and the future by the light of religions helping us all discover the light of life.”

At that time, His Excellency Nget Sok, Grade 3 of the prison guards also expressed his satisfaction and welcomed various religious representatives warmly for having held the gathering with the inmates since 2004.  He said that the presence of the religions for now was very significant in helping to educate and encourage all the inmates to have renewed hope and alter their lives to make improvements when they are freed from the prison after they have served their sentence.

It has to be pointed out that such activities in Kampot city has been initiated since 2004 with the participation of the Ministry of Cults of the city, the representatives of the Buddhist faith, the Muslim religion and the Catholic faith.  The inmates were treated to some food such as chicken curry with bread. They were also given some toiletries such as soap, tooth paste and blankets.