ASIA/CAMBODIA - The Apostolic Vicar of Phnom Penh: "A new missionary impetus animates the young"

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Vatican City (Agenzia Fides) - "The young Cambodians realize that they are apostles, and realize that evangelization is not the sole prerogative of priests and religious. It is the hope of Christ in us which we want to give to the world": is what is said in a note sent to Fides Agency by Mgr. Olivier Schmitthaeusler, 42, Apostolic Vicar of Phnom Penh, among the participants at the Synod on the New Evangelization.
Speaking of the "new evangelization" in the cambodian context, the Vicar notes that "the Gospel is not spread through proselytism, but by infecting people with one’s enthusiasm." Cambodia - remembers the Vicar - experienced in recent history, after the Khmer Rouge season, "a situation of first evangelization," but today the people of God are rediscovering the awareness of the mission of every Christian. The most important thing, he remembers, is to "touch the heart." In fact, "for Cambodians, like many Asian peoples, the word heart is everywhere in the language used to express feelings. This is what Jesus did: he touched the heart. " Bishop Schmitthaeusler is convinced that we must "return to the experience of the first Christian communities, who lived the simplicity of the Gospel." And remembers, when he arrived in his first parish, there was only one Christian. He started to read and regularly share the Gospel with a small group, after ten years the faithful baptized have become 140 and continue to increase.
Although Christians in Cambodia are a "little flock" (about 2% of the population), they are still "very dynamic, and happy to be in the Church." In the village there are over 50 among congregations and ecclesial movements, and this, for the Vicar, is a good sign: "The Church allows everyone to express their charism, in unity." And it is also a wealth for evangelization. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 27/10/2012)