After Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Msgr. Antonysamy Susairaj the Administrator of the Apostolic Prefecture of Kampong Cham effective July 25 2019, the Congregation of Evangelization of Peoples elected Fr. Bruno Cosme as the new Apostolic Administrator “vacant sede and ad nutum Sanctae Sedis” for this prefecture.
On November 2019, more than 1,000 Catholics including 50 priests, bishops and Cardinal witnessed the installation ceremony of Fr. Bruno Cosme as the new Administrator for the Apostolic Prefecture of Kampong Cham at Kampong Cham City Parish. At the event, Archbishop Paul Tschang In-Nam invited Fr. Bruno to come forward and profess his faith as well as make his oath that he will take care as shepherd of Jesus in front of the congregation.
Later, the archbishop handed the new administrator the Pectoral Cross as a reminder of the love Jesus has and make sacrifices as a good pastor with virtues, mercy and forgiveness. A ring symbolizes his love for the Church, which is the Bride of Christ, while the Mitre is the enlightenment of the Spirit and great success on the day the good shepherd comes. Then, the new administrator, Msgr. Bruno said: “New missions are hard, too.” He further said that the past ministry of the former Prefect was confined to the Church. But now the ministry has to extend to a diocese that consists of many Churches, priests, nuns and also to maintain good relations with Laos. “Please, pray for me.”
The new administrator was also elected as vice president of Episcopal Conference of Laos & Cambodia (C.E.L.A.C) with Cardinal Louis Marie Ling Mangkhanekhoun as the president for a five-year term. The new administrator added that he will encourage the faithful to further spread the values of the Gospel. “So, in my opinion, we have to make further reflections on how do we bear witness to Jesus? It is not merely confined to only Sunday Masses.”
Sr. Bun Tharin Soun of the congregation of Sisters Lovers of the Cross said: “Fr. Bruno has lived in Cambodia for 25 years like a Cambodian. The new administrator seems to be worried much because he doesn’t know this place yet meaning this Prefecture.” However, the nun further said: “As a nun of the Apostolic Prefecture of Kampong Cham, we collaborate with the administrator and priests in the prefecture and we support the administrator in all his moves. We want to expand the Church and everything according to the plan of God. So, we join the administrator willingly in pastoral affairs.”
A Cambodian seminarian of the Major Seminary of St. Jean Marie Vianney, Prak Bunhong from Busra Church in Mondulkiri province said: “I will join in prayer for his ministry so that the Kampong Cham prefecture will grow further. May God give him more strength to govern the Kampong Cham prefecture and related places.” Thon Rithy, from Kdol Leu Church, who is seeking to understand priestly life at the Major Seminary requested the administrator to “Walk fast so that the Church will grow more and more and be pastorally active in our Church. May the Holy Spirit be with the new administrator who is the person in charge of carrying out main pastoral affairs in the Kampong Cham Prefecture.” Msgr. Bruno Cosme was born on 3 December, 1962 in France. He was ordained priest on 3 July 1994 in the Paris Foreign Missions Society (MEP). He studied at the French Pontifical Seminary, Rome. From 1989-1995, he studied Dogmatic Theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, Italy. He was assigned to carry out pastoral missions in Cambodia in 1995.
He has studied Khmer language for three years in Phnom Penh and Svay Sisophon, Banteay Meanchey Province. From 1998-2010, he was a professor and rector of the Major Seminary of St. Jean Marie Vianney in the capital Phnom Penh. From 2001 to 2007, he took office as Vicar General of the late bishop Emile Destombes of the Apostolic Vicariate of Phnom Penh. From 2010 to 2015, he was the priest in charge of St. Joseph’s Church in Phsar Toich, Phnom Penh as well as the pastoral sector of North of Phnom Penh. From 2015 to 2016, he joined the congregation of Benedictine congregation in Malis, France. From 2016 to 2019, he was a member of MEP, especially being responsible for the study programme of seminarians.