UCA News

Cambodian synodal meeting calls for collaboration

The seminar, organized by the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conference, discussed communion, participation, and mission
A synodal meeting in progress in Cambodia.

A seminar on the Synod on Synodality organized by the Office of Social Communication of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC) from April 25-27 in progress at the Phnom Penh Diocesan Pastoral Center in Cambodia. (Photo:donboscocambodia.org)


Published: April 29, 2024 09:55 AM GMT
Updated: April 29, 2024 12:03 PM GMT

Cambodian Catholics attending a seminar were asked to foster greater communion and collaboration while making “synodality a living experience” in the country's missionary context.

The Office of Social Communication of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC) organized the April 25-27 seminar on the Synod on Synodality, according to a statement on April 29.

Bishop Olivier Michel Marie Schmitthaeusler of Phnom Penh, who opened the program, urged the participants “to listen attentively to the Holy Spirit to bring to fruition the Synod in the pastoral context of the Church in Cambodia.” 

The seminar dealt with the processes and different phases of the Synod, which has three key themes: communion, participation, and mission.

“It was a moment of re-energizing the young missionary Church in Cambodia,” the statement said.

Cambodia has some 20,000 Catholics in a population of 16 million which is predominantly Buddhists.

Throughout the seminar, the participants repeatedly stressed the need for “collaboration and joint programs for ongoing formation.”

All religious practices including those of Theravada Buddhism, a majority religion in the country since the 13th century, were banned under the repressive regime of Pol Pot.

His regime is blamed for murdering about two million Cambodians from 1975 to 1979 as it wanted to annihilate all whom they considered traitors and counter-revolutionaries.

The Khmer Rouge murdered lay people, catechists, and missionaries, including members of the Paris Foreign Missions Society (MEP) from Cambodia, Vietnam, and France.

The Cambodian Catholic Church is slowly “emerging from the ashes of destruction,” with a renewed resolve for evangelization, re-building communities and churches, and “fostering unity and collaboration,” among the diverse missionary personnel, the statement said.

Since the 1990s, the Church has started to rebuild itself, attempting to establish institutions like the major seminary and ordinations of native priests. Cambodia has a multicultural missionary background, with personnel from across the globe.

The Cambodian Catholic Church has 13 native priests, which is “a sign of growth and fruitfulness” for the Church there, the statement said.

The input sessions highlighted the synodal journey through various states and focused on the importance of living synodality in mission, spiritual conversation, listening, shared leadership, and commitment to the Church's mission.

The seminar included animated and shared moments of prayer and silence, and fellowship meals, among other activities “which made [the] event a truly lived experience of synodality,” the statement said.

More than 70 Church leaders, including Father Peter Soun Hangly, Apostolic Prefect of Kompong Cham, members of various religious communities, parish priests, laymen and women leaders, and youth participated in the seminar.

Father George Plathottam, executive secretary of the FABC Socal Communication Office, and Doctor Jessica Joy Candelario from the Philippines were the event's resource personnel.

Help UCA News to be independent
Dear reader,
Trafficking is one of the largest criminal industries in the world, only outdone by drugs and arms trafficking, and is the fastest-growing crime today.
Victims come from every continent and are trafficked within and to every continent. Asia is notorious as a hotbed of trafficking.
In this series, UCA News introduces our readers to this problem, its victims, and the efforts of those who shine the light of the Gospel on what the Vatican calls “these varied and brutal denials of human dignity.”
Help us with your donations to bring such stories of faith that make a difference in the Church and society.
A small contribution of US$5 will support us continue our mission…
William J. Grimm
UCA News
Asian Bishops
Latest News
UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia
UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia
UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia