The Archbishop of Bamenda has encouraged Christians of St Michael’s Parish Futru-Nkwen in Mezam Division of the North West Region to build true Christian communities and to be exemplary by virtue of their life style. His Grace Cornelius Fontem Esua was speaking in the Parish Church Wednesday May 29 during the peak celebration of the centenary of the catholic faith in the parish.
Going down memory lane in his homily, the prelate recounted the post first world war arrival of the faith in Nkwen in 1919 and called on the Christians to be as determined as those Christians who returned from Fernando-Po present day Equatorial Guinea to plant the mustard seed which has grown to present day St Michael’s Parish Futru Nkwen.
The Archbishop used his homily to appreciate the efforts of the Piarist Fathers for taking care of the spiritual and social needs of the Christians since the arrival of three Piarist; Fr Juan Yzuel, Angel Valenzuela and Fernando Negro on the 26th December 1987. He encouraged the Christian community in Nkwen and the traditional authorities to continue collaborating with the religious community for a better future. The catechists and all collaborating to ensure the growth of the Christian community did not escape the mind of the Archbishop who appreciated them.
“For us Christians, the jubilee is particularly the time for mutual forgiveness; for reconciliation, of renewal; the time to look forward for a better future. I hope the celebration if this jubilee brings to this community that newness that we are all looking for.” He said about the jubilee event.
Reflecting on the theme of the celebration “faith in action” and the meaning of a jubilee, the Archbishop said “as we thank God for the faith which we have received, this faith must bear fruits in usand we must bring it to other people.I hope, in preparation for this jubilee, you have organised activities that have brought back fallen Christians. Christians who are not married in church, who are not talking to one another to be reconciled, that it has brought grace to your families not just the individual; that is has brought grace to your Christian communities; communities that can build other communities; a community that has no Jew or gentile; a community where we are all children of God and that we can live together as one family."
The deputy chairperson of the parish pastoral council in his remarks admitted that it has not been an easy road this far. He expressed the wish for the Christians to be more generous towards the church so as to enhance the work of God in the parish and extend to other communities.
The Provincial Superior of Piarist for Central African Fr Evaristus Akem Ndi Sch P. noted that for the past thirty three years, Piarist have not only improved the Nkwen community spiritually but also educationally with the creation of the formation houses, three primary schools, a literacy centre and an agro-pastoral training and production centre. This he said is due to the collaboration they received from the community on arrival. He called on the Christians to do a deeper reflection on the role of the church for a growth in their faith. Like the Archbishop, he expressed gratitude to the past and current parish priests, laity and traditional authorities for ensuring continuity in the parish.
The traditional leader of Nkwen HRH Fon FS Azehfor III admitted that the Church and particularly the Piarist have greatly developed his Fondom citing many prominent personalities including him who have beneficiaries of the schools opened and managed by priarist. He thanked God for the many Nkwen sons and daughters who have accepted the call to Religious life. He also acknowledged the much work done by the church to improve accessibility within his Fondom and in the area of employment. The traditional leader encouraged all non Nkwen people settled in Nkwen to see themselves as one while in his village and the Church avoiding negative vices like tribalism and nepotism.
“There should be no Nkwen man in the church, no Kom man in the Church, no Banso man in the Church, no Mankon man in the Church, No Bafut man in the Church, in the Church we are one” The Fon said
As part of activities ahead of the peak event, several activities took place amongst them Mass for the sick, prayers for healing and Deliverance, Penitential Service and Confessions, Celebration of the Sacrament of Baptism, Sports a youth conference, the inauguration of a Maria Grotto in the parish main mission, and a centenary choir concert involving for the first time the children’s choir and over 20 others.
The Archbishop used the centenary peak celebration to bless the completed multipurpose parish hall.
According to Fr Hippolyte Tanfen Wirnkar Parish Priest of Futru, it has been a great success. “I am very happy we have been able celebrate the centenary of the faith in Nkwen. It has been a long period of activities with so much dedication from Christians. I am very grateful to the Archbishop of Bamenda who had time to celebrate with us and to explain why we were celebrating. We received a lot of support from the Piarist Fathers under whose pastoral care the parish is placed with the Provincial Superior for Central Africa Rev Fr Evaristus Akem who took off time from busy schedule to be with us. We can only thank God and hope that God will continue to bless the people in Nkwen for the growth of the faith.”
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