A delegation from Cambodia visits Sacred Heart Church

A delegation from Cambodia, led by the Apostolic Vicar of Phnom Penh, visited the Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (SHJ) in Jalan Peel on July 28.

Aug 12, 2017

By Bernard Anthony
A delegation from Cambodia, led by the Apostolic Vicar of Phnom Penh, visited the Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (SHJ) in Jalan Peel on July 28.

Bishop Olivier Schmitthaeusler MEP, aged 47, who heads the Apostolic Vicariate of Phnom Penh, together with Fr Damien MEP and Cambodian Fr Ly and their 49 Cambodian lay Catholics (aged from 25 to 60 years old) were greeted by SHJ parish priest, Fr Edwin Peter.

The entourage was on an exposure programme to Kuala Lumpur and Penang. Earlier, they paid a courtesy call to Archbishop Julian Leow, after which they visited the HIV Centre in Batu Arang, Selangor.

The visitors participated in the Chaplet and Prayers to the Sacred Heart of Jesus prior to the 7.00pm Mass presided by Fr Edwin and concelebrated with Bishop Olivier, Fr Ly and Fr Damien.

After Mass, everyone adjourned for fellowship in the church courtyard. Joining them was Archbishop Emeritus Murphy Pakiam.

Bishop Oliver, who has been in Cambodia for 19 years, and Fr Damien, are both French. They are missionaries sent to Cambodia, under the Paris Foreign Missions Society (MEP).

After dinner, the Cambodian delgation attended a briefing by Fondacio Malaysia at the Bangunan Dominic Vandargon parish Community Centre. The briefing was about their activities, especially the Youth Leadership and Development Centre (YLDC) which aims to reach out to the poor, the migrants and the refugees. The skills provided in this programme are conversational English and Computer literacy to help them to find jobs in Kuala Lumpur.

Among the Cambodian delegation was Mr Sovanna, who is the director of the national social communication, office in Cambodia. The Cambodian delegation was in Penang July 29-30 where they attended the feast of St Anne and met with Bishop Sebastian Francis.

There are around 20,000 Catholics in Cambodia which represents only 0.15 per cent of the total population. There are no dioceses, but there are three territorial jurisdictions — one Apostolic Vicariate and two Apostolic Prefectures.

According to Bishop Olivier, there are 200 missionaries from 25 nationalities, including 10 MEP priests currently serving in Cambodia.

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