Don Bosco Casket in Cambodia

Fr. John Visser, DBFC country representative talking on the occasion of the Don Bosco Casket to Cambodia.

Phnom Penh DBNA — A delegation of teachers and members of the Don Bosco Foundation of Cambodia went on Wednesday, December 1st, to wait the arrival of the Don Bosco Casket in the Poipet International Gate early morning. At the other side of the border, in Thailand, a big group of also teachers and members of the Salesian Order in that country, were traveling from Bangkok to lead the relic into the neighboring country. It supposed to enter at about 10 AM, but some problems in the checking in delayed it until the afternoon.

The Urn with the relic of Saint John Bosco stepped in the Cambodian soil at 3:05 PM. It was accompanied by Fr. Dheparat, the Salesian superior of the Don Bosco schools in Thailand, Cambodia and recently Laos. At the Cambodian side was Fr. Leonard Ocho, the DBFC{s deputy country representative, Fr. Gabriel Kan, rector of Don Bosco Children Home in Poipet.

The Casket in Poipet

The relic was brought to the campus of Don Bosco school in Poipet at 4 PM where about 500 children, youth and teachers were waiting to see the face of the man that gave meaning to their life through a big project of education and protection, even if that man died 122 years ago in 1888. It is the Urn that keeps the relics of him, John Bosco of Turin. It has began its pilgrims through the five continents in June 2009 to celebrate the 150 years of the foundation of the educational order of Don Bosco, known as the Salesian Family in honor to another holy man, Saint Francis de Sales, from which Don Bosco carved the name for his group, the Salesians : There are Salesian fathers, Salesian brothers, Salesian teachers, Salesian schools, Salesian groups, Salesian sisters, Salesian past pupils and everything related with Don Bosco and his educational preventive method, is identified as ‘Salesian.’

In Cambodia, Salesian students, teacher, past pupils, officials and other organizations, call it as Sala Don Bosco (Don Bosco schools), or as the modern Cambodian youth use to say, Sala Don, knowing already the meaning of the Italian word Don as Puk (dad or father.)

The students in Poipet prepared a cultural program to honor the relic that was only one hour in the school´s campus. Fr. Gabriel Kan, a South Korean who leads the center since 2008, said to Don Bosco News Agency (DBNA) :

‘I thanks very much to the Cambodian government for its generosity to allow the Don Bosco Casket entering in the country. I am very happy to have the relic here at the school. If the Cambodian youth wants to know more about Don Bosco, just come to visit our schools.’

Battambang Andaung Cheng

The Urn was put on the Italian car that has ran through three continents already to begin its journey to the royal capital. It was scheduled a stop in Battambang where DBFC has been present since January 4, 1993 with two literacy centers to rescue children from the child labor exploitation, especially from the brick´s factories. The Andong Cheng literacy school, now scheduled to become also the first Don Bosco agricultural technical school.

The Casket was located in the campus of Don Bosco Andaung Cheng where Fr. Pierre Tunlop Sophal and Fr. Pedro Gómez of the Apostolic Prefecture of Battambang, came to honor the Catholic saint.

Arriving to Phnom Penh

A cortege made by the Italian car bringing the Casket and two other two vehicles with members of DBFC left Battambang at 9 PM. While in the campus of Don Bosco Technical School in the capital district of Phnom Penh Thmey (in English ‘New Phnom Penh’), more than one thousand students and teachers of the schools of Tekla, Tuol Kok and Phnom Penh Thmey were waiting.

‘We were singing in the campus since 9 PM, waiting for Don Bosco to come,’ said a young student from Kompong Thom, who is also a boarder in the technical school.

The students of the Salesian sisters were also in the night of waiting and few people could sleep the night from December 1st to 2nd.

Exactly at midnight, the Casket enters the campus of what was the first work of Don Bosco in Cambodia. In 1991 the Phnom Penh Thmey District was just a rice field. I myself remember a silent rural area near the airport. Going out in the night was dangerous and the school was the only developed spot in the middle of the fields. Now it is probably one of the most thriving districts of the capital, while the technical school campus is surrounded by condominiums and factories.

The musical band of the school was in line waiting for the entrance of the relic. Fr. John Visser, the DBFC’s country representative, Fr. Roel Soto, rector of Don Bosco Phnom Penh and Fr. Eugene Xalxo from Don Bosco Sihanoukville, carried the Urn until the place where the educational community gathered to pay honors.

By Albeiro Rodas & Heng Lay / Photos by Heng Lay / Don Bosco News Press Cambodia – DBNPC

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3 thoughts on “Don Bosco Casket in Cambodia

  1. Pingback: ‘We do not know each other… but we know Don Bosco,’ said Minister Im Sothy « ខ្មែរបង្រួបបង្រួម

  2. Pingback: ‘We do not know each other… but we know Don Bosco,’ said Minister Im Sothy

  3. Pingback: ‘We do not know each other… but we know Don Bosco,’ said Minister Im Sothy « I see Cambodia!

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