Having been baptised to receive renewed life with Jesus at Easter, 16 candidates proceeded to receive the sacrament of confirmation at the Chapel of Sts. Peter and Paul in Phnom Penh Thmey. The confirmation rite was administered by Bishop Olivier Schmitthaeusler of the Apostolic Vicariate of Phnom Penh with a large number of Catholics in attendance on the morning of 19 May 2019.
During his homily, the bishop advised the 16 to maintain friendship with Jesus with joy to focus their attention to express testimonial witnesses of love and joy. He further said: “You, confirmands should continue maintaining friendship always with Jesus. You should be witnesses of love and joy for other peoples.”
The bishop also reminded all Catholics present to follow the commandments of Jesus by engraving in their hearts His commandment: ‘Love one another as I have loved you.’ Confirmation perfects Baptismal grace. It is a Sacrament which gives us the Holy Spirit in order to root us more deeply in the divine union, incorporate us more firmly with Christ, strengthen our bond with the Church, associate us more closely with her mission, and help us bear witness to the Christian faith in words accompanied by deeds. (CCC1316)
In an interview with a Catholic reporter, the bishop also commented: “Today we are filled with joy for at this new Phnom Penh Thmey Church, there are the 16 candidates receiving the sacrament of confirmation. It means receiving the Holy Spirit, who is the Breath of God – the complete love of God, and it is included with over 50 catechists of the Catholic Diocese of Phnom Penh. Every Sunday, they are attentive to transmit their faith, knowing that the faith we have received from God, is a special joy.”
He further elaborated: “Catechists are obliged to do what they can for new and other Catholics to be able to make a joint journey as one family, namely the Church.” He added: “The role of catechists, parents and priests is to attentively advise, remind and encourage them. You act as God-parents, sponsors and close friends as St. Paul and Barnabas, who had encouraged and closely journeyed with the Catholics in early times.
In doing so, it is for us to create an atmosphere of a family who welcomes, has mercy and takes responsibility and also achievements in society.” A comfirmand, Chreb from Kampong Thom, continued: “When my husband discarded me, I became despondent, but having known the Sisters of Charity and the Church, it made me have the strength of mind. Despite having major obstacles, I am trying to overcome, because only Jesus is the Helper. The Sisters of Charity have prompted me to struggle on by myself and I even no longer want to mistreat myself. After being confirmed, I have the intention to serve the Church, despite being illiterate. If a priest or a nun allows me to do something, I am willing to do it, provided that I promulgate the Gospel of God to and encourage them to have renewed hope just like me.”
Another candidate, Bun Rong, a Battambang native who stays at the parish of Sts. Peter and Paul, further said: “The sacrament seems to have connected me with God because prior to knowing God, I seemed to have ignored other people, having never helped them. I do not care for those who have suffered around me. But after becoming a Catholic, I had some changes in my attitude.”
The Words of the Gospel and the formal teachings of the Catholic Church alike signified that the Holy Spirit was the Gift of God and the Counselor of the faithful. The Holy Spirit had helped them with the gifts of wisdom, understanding, truth, counsel, the Spirit of might, the Spirit of knowledge and the Spirit of the fear of the Father.