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Conclusion of Cambodia Delegation extraordinary visitation

By Cl. Kong Somony

Sihanoukville, Cambodia -- Last Saturday, 27 October, with the Cambodia Delegation Council (Delegate superior Fr Roel Soto) meeting with Fr Klement in Kep Don Bosco, the two week extraordinary visitation came to an end. The Visitor started his journey in Don Bosco Phnom Penh, went through Don Bosco Battambang, Poipet, Sihanoukville until the last Salesian presence in Kep and met all present Salesians, listened to all lay mission partners, most of the Salesian Family members and many young people in our works.

With the support of the THA provincial and the whole Congregation, the Delegation, since its foundation in 2013, is slowl, but surely growing. There are 12 perpetually professed confreres, 10 priests and 2 Salesian brothers living in five distinct presences. Moreover there are 11 Salesians in initial formation 'belonging' to the Delegation, one prenovice in Cebu (FIS), three postnovices in Sampran (THA), two theology students in Melbourne (AUL) and two in Manila (FIN), while one missionary is still studying English outside the Delegation before his arrival. The most heartwarming gifts are the first five Khmer Salesian vocations and one prenovice, most of them the fruit of our schools and vocation experience both in Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville.

The visitation was a great time of thanksgiving to God for the constant development under the good leadership of Fr Roel and his council, growing in the sense of belonging to one province (THA - Thailand, Cambodia and Laos). The one month canonical visitation of Fr Provincial last June was a big boost to all confreres, since Fr Theparat spent more than 3 days in each community and was able to understand our situation in-depth.

As you know from the media, Cambodia is now maybe the fastest changing country in the ASEAN region and also the Salesian mission is pushed to adjust to the pace of the country's development, especially in the Don Bosco Technical and Academic (gr.1-12) schools with almost 2600 students, 500 of them living as boarders with the Salesians. Although among our 290 lay mission partners there are very few Catholics, the family spirit and respect for Don Bosco is felt everywhere. The weekday and festive Oratories, growing Salesian Family members and multi-cultural community open to large number of lay volunteers are clear witness to Don Bosco's care for the less privileged youth of Cambodia.

The future of our work in this young country of 16 million inhabitants is bright, since Don Bosco is respected, attractive and the impact of the Don Bosco mission is felt both in the Catholic community and in civil society. In order to adjust to the fast development of the economy, our schools are looking for partnership with many industries, government institutions and as well with Don Bosco TVET in other ASEAN countries. Indeed young people of Cambodia are in the heart of Don Bosco!













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