The Apostolic Prefect of Battambang, Enrique Figaredo briefed the "process" and the ''result' of the Synod and Synodality in Rome with the Cambodian Catholic community from November 7-9 at the Assumption Church (Petyeay Chi), Battambang City, Battambang Province.
A total of approximately seventy clergy, congregational, and committee members of the Church took part in the "Holy Spirit Leadership" event.
"This pastoral meeting is a time for us to pray, to hear, to greet, not to make a decision," said Monsignor Figaredo.
"Now we think of the Synodal Church, which the Pope wants us to think of as God's people baptized into the great family of God," he said. Therefore, as children of God, the church needs to be involved and responsible for the church.
At this point, "the Pope wants us to be active in proclaiming the gospel without the need for a commander," he said.
The Monsignor shared his experience attending the Synodal last October in Rome. He said that in that conference, we express our opinions and share our experiences think about the role of women in the church and reflect on many other topics.
At the beginning of this meeting, Singaporean professor and layperson Christina Kheng, a speaker, explained what synodality is and its processing during the conference.
Kheng said that in the past, the church thought a lot about global issues such as the environment, social issues, and war, but the church did not reflect on themselves, so this is an opportunity to think directly about the process of the church today.
Kheng also said that the Church has a pyramidal structure, leading to a gap between the upper and the lower, so the Church came up with the word Synodal to let us know that God is enlightened and calls us to join His Church.
Kheng who joined to lead the Synodal Church in Rome in October, said, We share, not just the bishops, but everyone has the opportunity to speak, and the Pope listens and sits at the round table with us, the clergy. We need to communicate and get to know each other like brothers and sisters; this is the new way we journey together.
The Synodal Church began in 2021–2024. In 2021, in Cambodia, the Church responded to three questions of communion, participation, and mission to proclaim the Good News. All the answers were collected and sent to Rome.
Father Carlos Eduardo Alfaro shared his experience: Two years ago, we answered these questions, and we had non-Christian children who wanted to know about the church come and discuss what the community wanted to see on the community journey together. They help us open up new ideas.
Another priest, Father Ros Muong said that in Battambang prefecture, the church not only listened to the Catholics but also listened to Buddhist monks who used to know each other to discuss and get ideas to improve the church. Most of the monks praised the activities of the Church and told us to continue the activities in society.
Fr. Michael Smith, SJ, from New Zealand, gave instructions on how to pray and how to engage in fellowship and love that each Catholic can share in the afternoon. - Kagnha Keo
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