The chief celebrant was Fr Peter Sok Na from Phnom Penh and eight other East Anglian priests concelebrated with him, including former parish priests of Sacred Heart, Fr David Bagstaff and Fr Peter Marsh.
Even Australia was represented by Fr Gavin Small, on vacation and supplying for Fr James Walsh. Fr David Ward(Costessey) gave the Homily.
Representatives of the youth of the parish led the impressive opening procession, which was accompanied by a Khmer setting of the Gloria. This was followed by the offering of traditional gifts of food, flowers and incense at the Offertory and the strewing of rose petals at the Consecration.
In the Cambodian Church, it is customary to write the names of departed loved ones on a white paper cross which is displayed on a board and incense offered in their memory. The crosses are then burnt to symbolise souls rising to heaven. This very moving conclusion to the Mass took place almost as it would have been in Cambodia – except the burning took place outside on the piazza in deference to fire regulations.
As Fr Mark Hackeson (Bury St Edmund's) pointed out, this was a real ‘diocesan family’ celebration for what is, in Cambodia, very much a family event. It was a particular and unique privilege for those present to have been able to share this with Fr Sok Na. A beautiful and memorable occasion much appreciated by all who came.
Pictured above are priests and young people at the Mass and the burning paper crosses ceremony. Pictures by Gerald Fox.