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Preach the Gospel and bear witness to faith in the same manner as St. Francis Xavier- Cambodian Bishop

The apostolic vicar of Phnom Penh, Bishop Olivier Schmitthaeusler, admonished Catholics to preach the Good News and bear witness to the faith in the same manner as St. Francis Xavier on December 3. 

During a sermon in honor of the confirmation of 40 candidates at Our Lady of the Smile Church in Chamkar Tieng, Takeo Province, the bishop reminded nearly 200 Catholics that St. Francis Xavier emigrated to proclaim the gospel out of elation, certainty of identity, and mission.

"May the seven gifts that 40 candidates receive today lead them to become the new St. Francois Xavier and to our Bethlehem and Jerusalem, to live and grow in each place," he added.

Saint Francois Xavier was the initial individual to proclaim the Good News throughout Asia. In the same way that this saint did, the bishop said that their Chamkar Tieng parish employs four generations of priests to serve the local population and spread the gospel. According to the bishop, Fr. Fernando Arley and Fr. Arockiadoss Vanathaiyan Arango Zapata and Fr. Charles Lechipan at present subsequently followed him.

He said that the forty candidates and the Catholics present are a distinct indication of God's presence and that we can see it for ourselves:  "Yes, God is born as human.”

According to Bishop Schmitthaeusler, Jesus was not born in Bethlehem but rather in a Catholic neighborhood. He further stated that this location "resembles a miniature Jerusalem," where Jesus died, rose and ascensioned.”

Despite our fallibility, sinfulness, and occasional disorientation—today we may cherish Jesus, but tomorrow we might forget Him in favor of others or engage in gossip—we are mere mortals. Nevertheless, God remains steadfast in His affection for us. The bishop further stated that this "provides us with a unique impetus to advance, and God is perpetually awaiting our arrival."

Fr. Charles Lechipan, the priest in command of the Takeo Pastoral District, stated that by participating in church activities such as charity work and catechism classes, an increasing number of young people have developed an interest in the church.

"This brings me joy through the act of mercy, and through the bishop appointing more priests to involve the mission leads us to hope that more people will follow Jesus," Charles said.

The overseeing priest further stated that every church hosts catechism classes and charitable endeavors, including visits to the ailing, donations to the impoverished, instruction for Catholics and non-Catholics residing in the villages, and assistance in cultivating an appreciation for the meaning of life and preventing despondency.

After receiving the confirmation, 24-year-old Rom Udom realized he had vitality and that his life had taken on greater significance.

"I am confident that I will become a real member of the Catholic community in the world, not just in Cambodia," according to him. "I am a true child of God."

This young man views himself as a seed to be led, shared, and propagated so that others may be cherished and integrated into the family of God.

In 1998, one Catholic resident of the community of Chamkar Tieng village was the founding member of the Takeo Pastoral District. Takeo City Community, Trinity Church (Kirivong), St. Teresa Church (Preykabas), Saint Paul Community, St. Jonh Baptist Community (Bati), Kampong Am-pil Community, and St. Jonh Baptist Community are some of the eight communities that make up the area at present.

Fr. Charles Lechipan estimated that there are approximately one thousand Catholics who have converted to Baptistism at present.-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.