Apostolic Vicariate of BattambangDaily News

Church built in Former Khmer Rouge stronghold in Pailin

Khmer Catholics including children and some foreign Catholics and the congregations of Marist Brothers (FMS) and  the Daughter of Charity, Cambodia, gathered to praise of God in a large church named  “Jesus’ Heart” church, that was built on a large land area in authentic Khmer

The church of Jesus’ Heart is located in O’ Ta Pok village, Pailin city, along the road to Prom Market, about 2 kilometers, on the right side of the Independence Monument to Prom Market. The Catholic Church is inside the province next to the Cambodia-Thai borders with Fr. Joseph Moung Ros as the parish priest.  The priest leads the Church along with the Parish Council Committee of Marist Brothers and   the Daughter of Charity Cambodia, to support the parish. Church services are held every Sunday. Although only a small number of people attend services, the parish life is very active. “In spite of not having great activities, we do start with small activities to the best of our abilities to show the presence of Jesus.

These are small activities but filled with love. It is very important –that such love comes from God,” Fr. Moung Ros said. The priest continued by saying that the parish has catechism classes for children, aged between 6 and 7 and teenagers, on a regular basis. Every day, the Marist Brothers teach English to students coming from outside the parish. The congregation has the center that receives male youth to learn English and computer software knowledge and other activities in villages. The Daughters of Charity Cambodia receive female youth to stay there and learn.  The priest said that this was the life of the parish in Pailin.

About  10 to 15 Catholics congregate on Sundays on a regular basis, not including the children. On 24th March, it was a Lenten Sunday. The priest encourages the Catholics to be attentive and to put the Word of God into practice, by advising them: “Brothers and sisters, please be attentive to prayer and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, – listening to the Word of God, and receiving of the Body and Blood of Christ. More than this, please show your action in charity by helping one another, encouraging one another and serving brothers and sisters with love.” The Catholic Church in Pailin started for the first time with eight families migrating to Battambang province when Pailin province was integrated into a truce centre in 1996.
It has to be noted that Pailin province was the stronghold of the Khmer Rouge, which was a district of Battambang province. The Church had originally leased a plot of land and a house to congregate. Slowly,   the church was constructed on the land as well as other buildings for pastoral activities.