Survey Promo
RVA App Promo Image

Cambodia: Bishop Schmitthaeusler opens academic year of Propaedeutic and seminary 

Bishop Olivier Schmitthaeusler, MEP, opens the academic year school of Saint Jean Marie Vianney Seminary in Cambodia. (Photo supplied)

Bishop Olivier Schmitthaeusler, MEP, Apostolic Vicar of Phnom Penh, opened the academic year of Saint Jean Marie Vianney seminary and the propaedeutic (preparation) class on January 4 in Cambodia.

The seminary this year has 3 seminarians, and the propaedeutic class has 7 candidates: 6 from Phnom Penh vicariate and 1 from Battambang prefecture. 

The bishop said that when we see the calling that God is preparing for our community, we should be grateful to God during the same-day Mass at St. Peter and Paul Church in Phnom Penh, which had about 200 Catholics present.

Propaedeutic class means being able to keep their calling from God, to spend time with Jesus, to meditate deeply with God, to leave the world, and to remain silent.

He stated that this propaedeutic class is "a home where we travel in our hearts with Jesus, especially considering how Jesus loves us and how we personally love Jesus."

Following the example of Mary, the mother of Jesus, the bishop asked the seven young men to prepare themselves to be servants of God who love all people. He also asked seminarians and the priests who oversaw the new area to pay attention to this point.

"Let us be servants to be homeowners, to love our home, to take care of our home, the community we receive," he said, adding that the "home is for Catholics, children, youth, and the elderly, and to make them feel that they have a cozy home."

Seminarian (blue shirt)-and Propedeutic students (white shirt) received prayer book from Bishop Olivier. (Photo supplied)

Fr. Gianluca Tavola, a member of the PIME order, oversaw the administration of the major seminary, Saint Jean Marei Vianney. Father Jean Sun Un was responsible for the propedeutic class.

Father Son Un said that the two-year propaedeutic class aims to foster camaraderie among these young individuals via shared experiences of cohabitation, personal growth, mutual support, collective journeys, and familial coexistence.

According to him, the curriculum focuses on studying the Bible and other subjects about faith and the community, as well as pursuing a bachelor's degree in English to enable further academic pursuits.

The fruits of this group, which is interested in life as a priesthood, came from the vocation group called Emmanuel, he said. He said the call was a gift from God.

"We thank the parents, the family, the priests, the brothers, the sisters, and the parishioners who prayed for them and supported him," said Bishop Schmitthaeusler. He asked them to continue to pray for young people to persevere and travel with Jesus.

Before the end of the program, Bishop Schmitthaeusler distributed a prayer book to the seven candidates and three seminarians.

The Catholic Church in Cambodia endured significant hardships during the Pol Pot Regime from 1970 to 1979. The event resulted in the deaths of several Catholics, including priests, nuns, and laypeople, as well as the Khmer bishop and his entourage.

Currently, the Catholic Church in Cambodia has 14 Cambodian priests and 150 missionaries serving in 3 jurisdictions. These jurisdictions consist of 104 parishes and communities, which cater to roughly 20,000 Catholics. It is worth noting that this number represents a small fraction of the total population of 16 million in Cambodia. - Kagnha Keo


Radio Veritas Asia (RVA), a media platform of the Catholic Church, aims to share Christ. RVA started in 1969 as a continental Catholic radio station to serve Asian countries in their respective local language, thus earning the tag “the Voice of Asian Christianity.”  Responding to the emerging context, RVA embraced media platforms to connect with the global Asian audience via its 21 language websites and various social media platforms.