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Cambodia

CAMBODIANS SEE FIRST RELIGIOUS PROFESSION IN 20 YEARS

Updated: September 12, 1996 05:00 PM GMT
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Filipino missionary Sister Elizabeth Castro has made her perpetual profession as a Salesian Sister of Don Bosco, the first Religious profession in Cambodia in more than 20 years.

Some 200 Catholic adults and scores of Cambodian youths, most of them students of Sister Castro, witnessed the two-hour event here on Aug. 17.

Sister Castro´s profession was seen as another sign that the once suppressed Church of Cambodia is gradually regaining its freedom and identity.

Phnom Penh apostolic vicariate and the apostolic prefectures of Battambang and Kompong-Cham now serve some 20,000 Catholics in 53 mission stations.

Father Pierre Sophal Tonlop was ordained last year for the apostolic prefecture of Battambang, the first ordination of a Cambodian in 20 years.

The Khmer Rouge under Pol Pot, who ruled Cambodia from 1975-1978, tried to wipe out all traces of the Church and to suppress other religions including Buddhism, presently Cambodia´s state religion.

The religious profession of Sister Castro was officiated by Bishop Yves Ramousse of Phnom Penh apostolic vicariate following a Mass at which he also presided.

Concelebrants were Archbishop Luigi Bressan, apostolic nuncio to Cambodia, Paris Foreign Missions Father Andre Lesouef, apostolic prefect of Kompong-Cham, Salesian rector Father John Visser, and other priests in Cambodia.

Salesian Sisters Marinella Castagno and Rosalba Perotti, superior general and vicar respectively, came from Italy to accept Sister Castro as a perpetually-professed member of the congregation.

The Salesian sisters are also known as the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians.

END

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