French missionary returns home after long service in Cambodia

Father Francois Ponchaud, 82, contributed much to Cambodian society in the fields of education and social development.

Father Francois Ponchaud, a well-known priest of the Paris Foreign Missions Society (MEP) who has served the Catholic Church in Cambodia for 56 years, returned to France on Dec. 21 for his retirement.

Born on Feb. 8, 1939, he was ordained in 1964 in his native France and arrived the following year in Cambodia where he served as an MEP priest. Knowing nothing about Cambodia, he started learning Khmer and carrying out pastoral duties among Catholic communities.

“I am​ a servant of God. God uses me. I don’t know what will happen next but trust in God,” said the 82-year-old priest.

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