Phnom Penh (Agenzia Fides) - They symbolically knocked on the doors of the Church to ask to be admitted to the last stage of their preparation for Baptism. They are 95 young Cambodian catechumens who, in the Apostolic Vicariate of Phnom Penh, have begun the 40-day journey during Lent that will lead them to receive the sacrament of Baptism on Easter night 2023. "The Lenten season is an opportunity to be ready to meet God, who speaks and manifests himself at every moment. Let us take advantage of this time for our personal journey of conversion", said Bishop Olivier Schmitthaeusler, Apostolic Vicar of Phnom Penh, imposing the sacred ashes on them and inviting them to live this Lenten journey with particular spiritual intensity, with prayer, fasting, regular attendance at the Word of God and community meetings, works of mercy and charity.
"Brothers and sisters, let us pray for all the candidates who are preparing to receive Baptism: may the Lord bless them all. Let us accompany them on their journey, stand by their side, let them feel our affection and support", said the Bishop. The presence of catechumens within the community of Phnom Penh - remarked the Apostolic Vicar - is not so much the result of the human labor of the sixty priests present in Cambodia, or of the hundreds of men and women religious who live here, but above all, a work of God, which gives faith and changes hearts".
Many candidates come from Buddhist families and received the proclamation of the Gospel in their youth or adulthood. Many of them got to know and became interested in the Catholic faith thanks to their commitment to educational, social and charitable works run by the Church. According to the directives of the adult catechumenate followed by the local Church, candidates who wish to embrace the Catholic faith must follow a course of formation and catechesis for about two years, integrating into a parish community and participating in its life, in order to learn the basics of the Catholic faith, the Bible, the rituals. This journey leads them to deepen their spiritual dimension and involves them in charitable activities, increasing their love for God and neighbor. (PA) (Agenzia Fides, 6/3/2023)
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