In Phnom Penh, Catholics to celebrate 154 adult baptisms at Easter (photos)

All nine pastoral sectors of the capital met for catechumens’ decisive call and presentation, including members of the communities in Bati and Tropeang Kragnoun, who recently welcomed their first baptised. Mgr Schmitthaeusler told them “not be afraid to bear witness!"

Phnom Penh (AsiaNews/ÉdA) – During the Mass on the first Sunday of Lent, 10 March, the Vicariate of Phnom Penh celebrated the decisive call and presentation of the 154 adults who will receive baptism on Easter night.

Representatives from all nine pastoral sectors of the capital took part in the service officiated by the Apostolic Vicar, Mgr Olivier Schmitthaeusler,

They include members of young Catholic communities in Bati and Tropeang Kragnoun, in the southwestern province of Takeo, on the border with Vietnam, who welcomed their first baptised only recently.

Stressing the "great joy" of the whole vicariate, Mgr Schmitthaeusler in his homily stated that "each of the called adults met Jesus in a personal way, welcomed and supported by the Christian community".

The apostolic vicar personally knows the path of faith of many of them, which in some cases took more than ten years.

The prelate invited the catechumens to "be proud of becoming sons and daughters of God, with the certainty that God is with you and loves you infinitely, without limits."

"Be disciples and friends of Jesus,” he told them, “and apostles, witnesses of the Good News, in deed and in truth. Our society needs small lights. You are this salt, this light and this ferment in the human dough. Don't be afraid to bear witness!"

The support of the whole Catholic community will be fundamental for the newly baptised. Hence, the apostolic vicar of Phnom Penh appealed to the priests, godparents and those who have already received baptism. "Be close to your catechumens. Love them and accompany them. Enlighten them, so that they may see another Christ in you.”

For this “is a mission that the Church entrusts to you through your ministry and which must be the priority in the coming weeks. Be the Church that welcomes the future baptised, who will be full members of our family and open the doors of your heart to the cries and miseries of our society. Your witness as Christians will be truer and more effective than any beautiful words about the mission. If not, our Church will be a Church of good intentions and not bear fruit."

As the "Church of Phnom Penh, we are proud of the mission received,” said Mgr Schmitthaeusler in concluding. “[W]e are up to this mission. I pray to God to bless us and keep us in his peace, so that we may live in him and bear witness with fervour to this love that burns [in us] and sends us” into the world.

(Photo credit: ÉdA)