Ordination of Fr. Damo

On 19 August, the Cambodian Church and the Society of Jesus were gifted with the first-ever Cambodian Jesuit priest, Fr Damo Martin Chour SJ.

The ordination programme began a little after 9 am and lasted for about two hours. Fr Totet Banaynal SJ had spent many days in Battambang organising every small detail of the programme. The choir and the dancers added to the mood of the celebration, making it more special.

Fr Damo was ordained by Bishop Olivier Schmitthaeusler MEP, Apostolic Vicar of the Phnom Penh Vicariate, in the presence of Bishop Enrique Figaredo SJ, Prefect of the Apostolic Prefecture of Battambang; Bishop Pierre Suon Hangly, Prefect of the Apostolic Prefecture of Kompong Cham; Fr Kim Yong-su SJ, Provincial of the Korean Province; and Fr Kwon Oh-chang SJ, Delegate of the Korean Provincial to the Cambodian Mission.

Among those who came to witness the historic event were over 70 priests, who had travelled from all over Cambodia, friends from the Philippines and Indonesia, representatives of Joy of Sharing foundation in Korea, and members of the Jesuit Curia in Rome.  Some of them had shared a connection with Fr Damo during his years of formation.

Adding to the significance of the occasion were Fr Damo’s mother and other family members, who were present to bless him. The congregation also comprised many religious sisters and a few brothers from various congregations, lay missionaries, friends of the newly ordained priest, and most importantly, parishioners from various parishes in Cambodia.

The Jesuits, with the help of Fr Manoj, the parish priest of the Church of Our Lady of the Assumption in Battambang, had made arrangements for setting up tents on the parish grounds that could accommodate over 1,500 people for the ordination Mass. With the generous support of many individuals, the Jesuits were likewise able to make arrangements for the overnight stay and other needs of many ordination guests, who were accommodated partly in the prefecture complex and in a hotel nearby.

Immediately following the ordination, Fr Oh-chang made an important announcement about the mission now entrusted to Fr Damo. He will be responsible for youth programmes and vocation promotion not only for the Society of Jesus but also across the prefectures of Battambang and Kompong Cham, and the vicariate of Phnom Penh.

Fr Damo expressed his gratitude to everyone who had helped make this event very special. The next day, he celebrated his First Mass in the same church where his ordination had taken place. The Jesuits in Cambodia expressed their felicitations to Fr Damo and wished him the blessings of Our Lord, for whose mission he has made his commitment. 

[Jescom Cambodia]

Fr. Oh-chang sj and Hak-joon sj