Buddhist monks and members of the pagoda’s clergyman’s commission from Angmontrey Pagoda in Takeo province’s Trankak district were invited to Our Lady of the Smiles Parish (ChamkarTeang) to join in celebrating Christmas on 23 December 2019.
Bishop Olivier Schmitthaeusler of the Apostolic Vicariate of Phnom Penh and the Parish Committee Chairman Kol Cheang welcomed them warmly because the meeting was equivalent to an inter-religious dialogue for harmony.
The chairman of the pagoda’s clergyman’s commission who only gave his name as Vanna said that on that day the faithful had solemnly celebrated Christmas by inviting Buddhists. The Pagoda commission had brought along materials such as Ambok (flattened rice);
coconuts; milled rice; and 40,000 riel ($ 10) donated by elderly people and students of the pagoda to offer to the parish.
He further said that the items though very small in comparison to the Bishop who had in previous years sponsored and supported the pagoda, our small gifts also come from our hearts.
Vanna, on behalf of the monks and the commission as well as the school said that their relations and alliance with the Catholic Church was so good and so he thanked the bishop for the relationships and support for the pagoda since 2002 when he was a priest then. More recently the bishop was awarded with the gold medal from the government at the request of this very commission.
On this special occasion, Vanna wished the bishop and his team a healthy life.
During these friendly talks, the bishop thanked the monks and the commission for paving the way for the government to award him the medal and for taking part in the development of the nation. He also thanked them for giving him the Buddhist statues from India.
The bishop further said: “On the occasion of Christmas, I met with a lot of people including Buddhists, Muslims and Catholics. This is the opportunity to share our happiness, joys and lives when we want to build happiness. Today in the Catholic Church, may we all grow even
further to build our villages and country.”
The bishop also invited the commission to join the 10th kite flying competition that was organised by the Parish pastoral Committee on 1st January 2020.
The talks went smoothly and further commission to promote harmony corresponding with the Cambodian government’s policy.