Phnom Penh, CAMBODIA — The Cambodia Salesian Family celebrated their annual day at Don Bosco Phnom Penh this Saturday, 18th of January and the occasion of the 50th anniversary of religious life of Br. Roberto Panetto, Italian missionary in Thailand since 23rd of November 1975 and in Cambodia since 24th of May 1991.

 The Cambodian Association of Past Pupils organised the event in coordination with the delegate for Salesian Family of the SDB (Fr. Eugene Xalxo) and the one of the FMA, Sister Malen Estacio. Fr. Charles Aron was invited by the organisers to make a deep reflection on the Rector Major´s 2020 Strenna, Good Christians and Upright Citizens with the motto “Let your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Mt 6.10).

The full translation of the comment of the Rector Major in Khmer Language still under way, as well as the local poster. However, the Salesian Family Day of Cambodia chose a deep adaptation to the national cultural and religious context of the Strenna as អ្នកជឿពិតនិងពលរដ្ឋគំរូ (True Believers and Upright Citizens). Cambodians are mostly Buddhist and the biggest religious minority is made of Muslims with near 5% of the national population, while Catholics are estimated in about 30 thousand in a population of 16 million. This reality is reflected in the students of all the educative projects in Cambodia. 

The Cambodian Salesian Family is made by Salesians of Don Bosco, Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, Sisters Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Volunteers with Don Bosco, Salesian Cooperators and the Association of Past Pupils. This year the Carmelite Sisters of the Sacred Heart from Mexico participated in the Salesian Day, after they accepted to support the pastoral works in Don Bosco Kep. 

During the Holy Mass at the Mary Help of Christians Chapel of Don Bosco Phnom Penh, Br. Roberto renewed his religious commitment before Fr. Roel Soto as superior of the Salesian Delegation. Some past pupils shared their experience of knowing Br. Roberto since his arrival to the Cambodian mission on May 24, 1991 and even before at the Cambodia Refugee camps in Thailand on the 1980’s. 

Br. Roberto Panetto, original from the same city of Don Bosco, Turin, in his 70’s and enjoying his mother on her 90’s, payed a homage during the Mass to key persons of his formation as a Salesian in Italy, Thailand and Cambodia, especially those who have been at the key moment to make things possible, such as the coming of Don Bosco to Cambodia in 1991.

The program ended in the night with a fraternal dinner and a cultural program animated by the boarder students of the SDB and the FMA, as well as teachers and past pupils. 

Students of the SDB and FMA in Phnom Penh during the Holy Mass at the Salesian Family Day.

Br. Roberto with the FMA Sisters of Phnom Penh.

Source: Don Bosco Link