Twin parish

Kompong Thom, Cambodia


History of our twinning

During the Pol Pot regime's reign of terror (1975-1979) between one and two million people were killed by the Khmer Rouge - churches were destroyed and many Christians martyred.  Refugee camps were established on the Thai side of the border, financed by the UNHCR and under the control of the Thai Ministry of the Interior.

Christianity was once again formally recognised by the Cambodian government in 1990 and missionaries from various denominations began to enter Cambodia and refugees were repatriated. Only in 1998 did the Khmer Rouge factions finally lay down their weapons and surrender to government forces.

There have been over 64, 000 people disabled due to landmines and, although many have now been cleared, there were still 186 accidents in 2012.

Kompong Thom is in the flood plain of the Tonle Sap Lake which is served by the Tonle Sap River and through it the Mekong River. Many of the people living around the lake are extremely poor and depend on the lake for fish and growing rice and throughout the rainy season, from mid-June to late October, the rivers flood creating an enormous wetland area.

Within this area are six churches which are all ministered by priests from Kompong Thom - The Good Shepherd at Kompong Rotet,  Tangkok,  Phum Pang,  Maneav,  Preck Sbau and Kompong Ko.

In May 1997, St Augustine's Church was twinned with Kompong Thom, by Fr Michael Evans who made several visits to Cambodia before being ordained Bishop of East Anglia in 2003. Subsequently, by 2014, Canon Peter Stodart, who replaced him as parish priest has visited Cambodia and Kompong Thom five times.   Visits have also been made by some of our assistant priests: Fr Philip Pak in 2006 and Fr Marcus Holden  in 2009 - accompanied by some of our young adult parishioners.

 

Priests who have served Kompong Thom include:

1997    Fr Pierre Tunlop-Sophal (Cambodian)  

1998    Fr Franco Legnani in  (Pime Italian Mission),

Fr Viney Nget (Cambodian), assistant then parish priest from 2009,

Fr Jub Phongphand SJ (Thai),  assistant then parish priest from 2010

Fr  Jinhyuk Park  SJ (Korean) from 2014 and is  assisted by Fr Bong-Bong SJ from the Philippines.

There are also three Religious Sisters, Sudathip, Jeeranan and Karlaya looking after the girls in the Mother of Peace hostel.

Reciprocal visits from priests in Kompong Thom have also been made to St Augustines: Fr Franco several times and in  2002-03 Fr Viney who spent six months here learning English.