ASIA/CAMBODIA - Year of Prayer: Praying like “Jesus, Mary and the Magi”

Saturday, 17 February 2024 local churches   jubilee   prayer  

Phnom Penh (Agenzia Fides) - "To prepare for the Holy Year, a year of the Lord's mercy, we should take time for prayer. Prayer is the basis of all things, the basis of conversion, the basis of our calling through listening to the Word of God, the basis of every activity of the Christian community," said the Vicar Apostolic of Phnom Penh, Bishop Olivier Schmitthaeusler (MEP) on the Year of Prayer 2024, inviting the faith community to live it with spiritual intensity for themselves in accordance with Pope Francis' call to prepare for the Holy Year.
"Sometimes we are busy putting ourselves at the service of others, we carry out many activities, and all too often we forget that the first basic principle of prayer is silence. Silence teaches us to live together with God. In this year let's find time to pray in our Vicariate in Phnom Penh", says a message from the Vicar Apostolic.
In an ecclesial reality made up of many small communities, Msgr. Schmmitthaeusler invites "each local community to gather once a month for a special prayer for vocations, with all the faithful", but also to "gather weekly to have a ' Lectio divina and to listen to the word of God". Prayer, he says, begins in the family: "Every family should find time for prayer at home at least once a week and spend 10-15 minutes together in prayer," he says to the Catholic parents. On a personal level, "every Christian should attend Mass at least once a week and on Sundays" to strengthen their commitment to the Eucharist and go to the source of God's grace.
"May 2024 be the year for us to pray to God the Father, just as Jesus praised the Father at all times. May 2024 be the year for us to look to Mary to connect to her heart, with love of God.
The year 2024 should be a time for us in which we convert and believe in the Gospel that Jesus proclaimed more than 2,000 years ago," emphasizes the Vicar Apostolic.
The bishop invites us to "pray like Jesus", because "all his works and words come from prayer." He also invites us to "be silent like Mary" who kept all the events of salvation in her heart, to reflect on the meaning of God's love". He also asks to "pray like the Magi" who "set out, found the baby Jesus and went to him to adore him".
The message was particularly well received by the youth of the nine pastoral districts of the Vicariate of Phnom Penh, who were invited to "spend time with Jesus" in order to "discern and understand the call of God in life". "To discover the presence of Jesus in daily life and to remain connected to him," explained the bishop at a meeting with more than 100 young people from the region, "one must believe that Jesus lives in one's heart; to look around with the eyes of faith; look at your own life with gratitude; Communicate with God throughout the day with short prayers; taking time in the morning and evening for meditation and prayer; broaden your view of the needs of the world; In this way, said the Bishop, "we will know that our lives are linked to the presence of God and we will know by faith that Jesus is our companion every day." . The year of preparation for the Holy Year will therefore also be a special "year of vocation" for young Cambodians to hear the call of God, also with regard to the vocation to the priesthood or consecrated life.
In 2023, new indigenous priests were ordained in Cambodia: three young Cambodians were ordained diocesan priests in the Apostolic Vicariate of Phnom Penh, and the community also rejoiced in the first Cambodian Jesuit priest (see Fides, 23/9/2023). Currently, the Catholic Church in Cambodia has a total of 14 local priests, in addition to about 100 foreign missionaries, who operate throughout the country, which is divided into three ecclesiastical districts (a vicariate and two apostolic prefectures) where there are a total of about 20,000 Catholics provide pastoral service. (PA) (Agenzia Fides, 17/2/2024)