Child Jesus Church in Boeng Tompun invited 200 poor people to an advent feast and distributed groceries to 200 poor families from the Cambodian Capital Phnom Penh.
The 200 families that received donations are living in many parts of Phnom Penh city such as Stung Meanchey, Chak Angre, Boeung Trabek and Boeung Tumpun, most of whom were poor, physically ill and garbage collectors.
During the day, all the poor families were invited to attend the Mass, which was presided over by Bishop Olivier Schmitthaeusler, MEP, the apostolic vicar of Phnom Penh.
Bishop Olivier said that “today, the Child Jesus in Boeung Tumpun church has invited many families who are suffering a lot to party together, such as a great wedding.
The Kingdom of God comes, the bishop said, when “our hearts are filled with love. When it is full, it begins to flow out, so that the gifts of God may be abundant for many people.”
"Today we thank God for calling us to come together to build the Kingdom of God," Bishop told the gathered people.
He reminded the Catholics to do a similar good deed in the advent season, even after they return home, to turn adversity into hope, pain into a new force and tribulation into true peace, to find the light in the coming Jesus Christ in our lives.
"Today I came to eat delicious food like the wedding reception, which I and all of the poor people cannot afford to eat," said 42-year-old Sam Sokha, with tears in her eyes.
Ms. Sokha is one of the 200 families who received donations and invitations from the Child Jesus of Boeung Tumpun Church located in Phnom Penh.
"I'm so excited, I do not know what to say because I'm from a poor family, I can only say thank you so much to the church for giving this to a poor like me.”, about the advent donations of the parish to poor families.
In the Capital of Cambodia, one has to pay at least USD20 per person for joining a wedding ceremony nowadays. That is very costly to the poor like Sokha, a garbage collector who earns 10000 (2.5 USD) riel per day.
Prum Sokny, a 45-year-old with HIV-AIDs, living in Phnom Penh thanked the church for taking care of those in need like her.
"(Church) gave the opportunity for poor people like me to eat the food of a wedding reception. This is the second time I to eat such food. I am very happy and also thank you so much for helping me and all the poor families every month." Ms Sokny said.
Sokny is among of 25 poor families who receive a stipend of 30000 riels (7.50 USD) per month from the church to facilitate their daily living.
"We have nothing but words of thanks to the church as well as to the priests for sharing their love with us," said Sang Maria, one of the recipients.
Mr. Hang Sarim, 74 years old, said that he had no words other than thank you, and the gift received, although not much, can give his family to eat for a while.
Ms. Nguon Phalla, a member of the parish charity committee said that the day’s program was supported by some Catholics, who themselves are not very wealthy, but shared what they have and their love for the poor.
"We join the plan of Jesus Christ who was born in a poor condition and now we have 200 poor families today joining us with Jesus.” Said Phalla.
She said that there was also a donation of 2 bags of rice from the Buddhists and 5 bags of rice, 5 boxes of orange juice and 5 boxes of noodles from Buddhist monks.
- RVA Khmer team
Radio Veritas Asia (RVA), a media platform of the Catholic Church, aims to share Christ. RVA started in 1969 as a continental Catholic radio station to serve Asian countries in their respective local language, thus earning the tag “the Voice of Asian Christianity.” Responding to the emerging context, RVA embraced media platforms to connect with the global Asian audience via its 21 language websites and various social media platforms.