New Rochelle, USA, 7 August 2022 -- During the penultimate week of July Fr Albeiro Rodas (orginally from Colombia, amissionary in THA province: Thailand-Cambodia-Laos, Delegation of Cambodia) visited New Rochelle and shared with SUE Newsletter:
This October will mark 23 years since Fr. Rodas has been there. He has organied communications for the province since 2008. "For us, communication is to channel messages from above and honor inspiration every time, even in art, photography, and videos," Fr. Rodas remarked. Being amid a Buddhist society, the THA Province incorporates tolerance. "People are very kind, humble, and enjoy being with others," Fr. Rodas explained. "They see God in every religion and every spirituality. Our evangelization is based on the ability to be witnesses to God’s Love, especially in charity and helping the poor. Preaching the Gospel is sharing the love of God with those in need." In 2011, Fr. Rodas, who previously obtained a Bachelor of Arts in social communication and journalism, opened Don Bosco Camp, a delegation school where students can obtain their associate degrees in social communication. There, they learn an array of talents from Fr. Rodas, including writing, acting, and directing.
Most students at Don Bosco Camp are Buddhist, and those who become Catholic do so when the Spirit calls. Then, it takes them three years to study catechism. "Our inter-religious dialogue is communicated by loved and tenderness," Fr. Rodas detailed. "To become Catholic is to fulfill the love of Jesus to give light. Buddha makes the enlightened one, and Jesus is light. So, many students say, 'I am a Buddhist who follows Jesus.'" In 2013, Fr. Rodas was made the Cambodia delegate for social communication.
Two years later, he graduated online with a Master of Arts in digital communication. One of Fr. Rodas’ favorite aspects of communication is filmography, which he sees as "a big package of social communication." "One of my favorite things about communication are films," he beamed. "For me, making movies is a great opportunity for young people to see reality." Fr. Rodas watches and analyzes films with his students and dreams to make the Don Bosco movie in Cambodia with Cambodian faces and in Cambodian context. Fr. Rodas also discussed the beauty in mantras. "The point of a mantra is to set an intention to get to God," he exclaimed. "Even saying 'Jesus' or 'Mary' is a mantra. It’s a beautiful idea to be enlightened by being truly present with the Lord and Mary Our Mother."
Additionally, Fr. Rodas communicated the importance of prayer and meditation. "A simple definition of prayer and meditation is that, in prayer, I talk to God; in meditation, I listen to God," he shared. "Meditation is connected to the highest in both Eastern and Western societies. In the West, meditation can be seen in many places, such as within Carmelite societies and St. Augustine’s talk on meditation. We can also recall that Jesus went up to the mountain alone to pray and meditate."
On Monday, July 25, Fr. Rodas returned home to Colombia to visit his family where he will stay until his return to Cambodia in October. One of the last things he discussed was the importance of forgiveness, for both us and others. "Ask for forgiveness for yourself and forgive others," he implored. "The voice of God is constant, and we ignore it in our worries." The sick lady who touched Jesus’ cloak. 'Woman, your faith has healed you.' We must hear that voice, every moment, every time."
- Cambodia Don Bosco Foundation website
- Cambodia - Kep Don Bosco
- Related news article: AustraLasia 5561 (III) Khmer Salesian Bulletin