A troupe of Chhai Yam dance performed to welcome bishop Olivier Schmitthaeusler of the Apostolic Vicariate of Phnom Penh and parishioners to celebrate Kathen celebration [gifts of saffron robes for monks]. They were invited to the celebration on the afternoon of 19 October 2019 at Angmontrey pagoda in Tramkak district’s Kous commune, Takeo province.
At the ceremony, many old men and women warmly welcomed the bishop and the parishioners from Our Lady of the Smiles Parish (ChamkarTeang).
An old man SouVanna representing the pagoda said that the alliance between the parish of Our Lady of Smiles and the pagoda had closely been connected from years gone by. The parish led by the bishop had donated a substantial amount of money to the pagoda. “So, on behalf of all monks of the pagoda and Buddhist followers alike, I would like to deeply thank the Catholic Church, the bishop and the faithful for their kind generosity. May they be blessed.”
The old man added: “On behalf of the whole pagoda, I vow to maintain the alliance between the Catholic Church and Buddhism forever.” On that occasion, the bishop wished all Buddhist followers a healthy life. He also reminded the old men and women to pay attention to the instructions of monks to educate their minds and hearts including their children. He further said: “Don’t allow your children to join Kathen celebration without learning about morality, life and Buddhist teachings. So, please take your role in educating children throughout your life. It is hoped that they always have happiness and the strength of mind and heart to promote harmony in our village and also in our society.”
Following these friendly words, the pagoda’s clergy commission prepared and served Khmer noodles for the bishop and the parishioners as a kind of fellowship meal in a friendly tmosphere.