Phnom Penh (Agenzia Fides) - A Catholic parish in the Apostolic Vicariate of Phnom Penh has completed the construction of the new Church of Saint Joseph. As Fides learns, Bishop Olivier Schmitthaeusler, at the head of the Apostolic Vicariate of Phnom Penh, inaugurated the new church in the parish of Pourti Ban yesterday, Sunday, February 20th. The municipality is located in Koh Thom district of Kandal province, 60 km south of Phnom Penh. Most of the parishioners are Cambodians who fled to Vietnam during the 1970 war and returned home over the next 20 years. The faithful started the fundraiser to build the new chapel during the pandemic.
According to Dev Tieng, a parish council member, the project was approved in July 2020 and in less than two years, a total of $50,000 has been raised thanks to the financial support of local Catholics, friends and benefactors around the world, which reached the 50 thousand US dollars needed to complete the building. According to Father Peter Le Van Tinh, parish priest of St Joseph's Church, "Construction of the church had begun, but we did not know when it would be finished. Thank God it is finished now". Bishop Schmitthaeusler thanked the community for their contribution and said: "The new church is a blessing for the people, it is a blessing for the community, it is a sign that God is working in the midst of his people". He then urged Catholics to grow in faith, hope and love. The Parish of Pourti Ban was founded before 1970 and suffered from declining numbers during the war, but has recovered since 1990 and currently 64 Catholic families of around 200 people live in the Parish of Pourti Ban. (SD-PA) (Agenzia Fides, 21/2/2022)