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The Friends of Cambodia are a parish group, open to all, who provide information about the two parishes in Cambodia St Mary’s parish is twinned with namely Our Lady of the Assumption parish, Battambang and the parish of St Therese of the child Jesus, Chomnaom, and our links to the Tep Im centre, a student hostel located near the Battambang presbytery.

The group meets a few times a year and helps us to keep in touch with news from Cambodia and projects we are supporting.

Lent Week 6 - Spotlight on Sickness and Disability

This week the focus on Cambodia looks at sickness and disability, and has a further idea for your Blessings Jar.
Click here to find out more about this in Cambodia

How to donate the money in your Blessings Jar at the end of Lent
Donations can either be made by cheque payable to 'Friends of Cambodia' and left at St Mary's Presbytery/Church for the attention of Val Olsen, or by bank transfer to the following account:

Barclays Bank. Account Name: Friends of Cambodia. Sort Code: 20-44-51. Account No.: 73175731 Reference: your surname or ‘Lent Giving’

Gift aid: if you are able to gift aid your donation, please follow this gift aid form, fill in the form and hand it in to the presbytery care of Val Olsen.
Please do not use the DONA button on the Website or the Allied Irish account given in the Newsletter, which would involve more administration.

Lent Week 5 - Spotlight on Food
This week our news from Cambodia focuses on food, and contains both a challenge for your Blessings Jar, and a Cambodian recipe for you to try.
Click here to find out more about Food in Cambodia

Lent Week 4 - Spotlight on Mothers and Babies
This week, on Mothering Sunday, you can learn about mothers and babies in Cambodia.
Click here to find out more about mothers and babies in Cambodia and compare to our experience in the UK

Lent Week 3 - Spotlight on Water
This week the focus is on Water. Click here to find out more about how people manage too little or to much water in Cambodia

Lent Week 2 - Spotlight on Light
This week the focus is on Light. Click here to find out more about how people light their houses in Cambodia

Lent Week 1 - Spotlight on Education
This week the focus is on Education, an area to which we have given a lot of support over the years. Click here to find out about schools in Cambodia.

Recent news from Chomnaom
After a series of temporary parish priests, a more permanent parish priest, Fr Vincent, has been installed in Chomnaom. Like Fr Francesco, Fr Vincent is a young and energetic French MEP missionary. He sends a letter with photos (PDF) with this note:

"I am French, 34 years old, in Cambodia for 3 years. I am not a Jesuit, like bishop Kike, but a diocesan priest from Paris Foreign Missions Society, a congregation present in Cambodia since 1664.

This letter is an opportunity to contact you and to give you some news of Chomnaom. The Christian community is doing well, despite a difficult year, due to lack of water. Rice crops are not very good. Cambodia’s economic situation is difficult since the health crisis. There are no tourists. That is why we continue to give a lot of rice to the poor families of the village"

The letter mentions the Chomnaom Church facebook page where you can follow the different events in the village.

Pictures below of Fr Vincent's installation, the congregation at Chomnaom, and with Fr Jacob and Fr Glen of the Mill Hill Fathers.

Flooding in Cambodia
Update: Here is a link to a YouTube video of the floods around our twinned Parish of Chomnaom

Both Battambang and Chomnaom are experiencing severe flooding. Click here for details and photos.

New Book about Cambodia and the Khmer Rouge by our parishioner Marie-Madeleine Kenning. Details can be found here

Marie-Madeleine from Friends of Cambodia has published a book with some of the eye-witness accounts of people’s experience in Cambodia during the terrifying years under the Khmer Rouge regime.

Our Lady of the Assumption parish, Battambang

Known as Pet Yiey Chee, or the Hospital of the Grandmother Nuns, because of the presence of a hospital run by nuns in the grounds of the current compound before the Pol Pot era, Battambang parish numbers around 1000 Catholics. Our Lady of the Assumption is both a parish church and the mother church of the Battambang prefecture (or diocese), led by Enrique Figaredo, a Spanish Jesuit missionary. The current parish priest is Fr Manoj, a Jesuit priest from India.

Click this link for a video message from Fr Manoj

St Therese of the child Jesus, Chomnaom
Chomnaom is a small village in Banteay Meanchey province some 50 kilometres from Battambang. The main source of livelihood is rice farming. In recent years many people have gone to seek employment in Thailand, leaving their children with grandparents. The village has had electricity since 2012, but there is no piped water and sanitation facilities are often inadequate. Water for drinking comes from huge jars of collected rainwater and has to be boiled; water for washing comes from the river or a pond. There is no public transport. People walk or get around on bicycles or mopeds.

The parish of St Therese of the child Jesus is the second oldest parish in the Battambang Prefecture, with around 120 Catholic families. The parish compound includes the Church, a kindergarten, and a parish pastoral centre. During the Pol Pot regime, the parish priest, Fr.Jean Badre, a French Benedictine monk, was killed by the Khmer Rouge. The parish is served by Fr Francesco, a French missionary, on ‘loan’ from the Phnom Penh diocese.

Click this link for a video message from Fr Francesco

Photos of recent work at Chomnaom
Click here for photos of the Repairs to access to the rice field (Spring 2020)
and Work for Food (May 2020)

Our Twin Parish of St Therese of the Infant Jesus

The Tep Im Centre
The Tep Im centre, named in memory of Mgr Paul Tep Im, Bishop Kike’s immediate predecessor who was killed by the Khmer Rouge alongside Fr Jean Badré, was set up to provide accommodation and food for 30 to 40 young people living in isolated villages like Chomnaom who have been admitted to one of Battambang’s universities but cannot afford to rent lodgings. It consists of three buildings (the boys’ accommodation block, the girls’ accommodation block, and the kitchen and main study room) arranged around a pleasant garden with a kiosk in the middle. The students clean the premises, look after the garden and take turns to cook.

The Director of the Tep Im Centre is currently Fr Ashley, a Jesuit missionary from Ireland.

The Tep Im Student Centre, Battambang

All of these centres are part of the Apostolic Prefecture of Battambang