The Salesian Fathers celebrate their 25th year in Cambodia in 2016. It was a great honour and joy to welcome Rector Major Fr Angel Fernandez Artime who graced this celebration in Phnom Penh on 28-29 February. Fr Angel was welcomed by students from the Don Bosco Technical School who lined the driveway. They were greeted personally by Fr Angel who walked down the driveway into the school. 

At the opening ceremony, a marching contingent from Tuek Thla High School led the way for Fr Angel and Phnom Penh's Bishop Olivier to join the Salesian community which included priests, sisters, brothers, teachers, past and present pupils and other guests who have been involved in the work of the Salesians. Former Don Bosco students put up a few items including a Khmer dance and a song in sign language. To conclude the ceremony, Bishop Olivier and Fr Angel released balloons to mark this special occasion. 

At the centre of the celebrations was the Holy Mass, which was celebrated by Bishop Olivier and con-celebrated by all the priests present. This was a significant moment especially as Don Bosco always made the Sacraments available to the youths he ministered to. This was also a time to give thanks to God for the many blessings He has showered on the Salesians in Phnom Penh over the last 25 years.

After a simple but sumptuous dinner, students of the various Don Bosco schools put up a cultural programme, showcasing their energy and many talents. The students of Phum Chreh told the story of Don Bosco through a song and skit and Tuek Thla elementary school showed us how life in the early days of Cambodia was like. The vocational schools of Tuol Kork and Battambang put up contemporary dance items which delighted the crowd. There were also performances by the boys who are beneficiaries of the Don Bosco Children’s Fund. 

The celebrations continued the next day with a sports competition among the Don Bosco schools. Whether it was volleyball, basketball or football, all the teams played their best with a fraternal spirit. Win or lose, it was an exciting day for players and spectators alike. Concurrently, Fr Angel met with the different Salesian groups including the priests and religious as well as student leaders to share his message and to give them an opportunity to ask him whatever questions they may have for him. 

Even though Fr Angel's visit was short, it was a very significant moment for the Salesians in Phnom Penh for he is equivalent of Don Bosco in our time. As Fr Charles said in a thank you speech, “When a superior visits, he brings many blessings to the house”. May the Salesian houses in Phnom Penh overflow with the blessings and graces of God!

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