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My pastoral visit to Cameroun Mission

I arrived Douala International Airport in the early hours of Thursday morning on April 15, 2021, after an hour flight from Abuja. Fr. Emmanuel Adinye, MSP, Cameroun Mission Superior, Fr. Israel Anaweokhai, MSP., and two parishioners of Holy Trinity Catholic Church, Douala, were on hand at the airport to welcome me. Later in the morning, I was officially welcomed to Cameroun by Frs. Adinye and Anaweokhai and the parishioners of Holy Trinity Catholic Church, Douala. 

The first schedule in my itinerary on April 15, 2021, was a visit to St. Martin De Porres Catholic Church, Bokwaongo, Catholic Diocese of Buea. On arrival in Bokwaongo, I was warmly received by my MSP confreres Frs. Stephen Nnadi and Polycarp Ojingwa, and selected parishioners resplendent in their AMSP attire. Later in the evening, I presided at the Holy Mass followed with a grand reception. The Liturgy was so mightily inspiring that, I sang over and over again, some of the pidgin songs rendered at Mass. Essentially, my time in Bokwaongo was heavenly. 

One of the highlights of the two nights I spent in Bokwaongo was my meeting with my confreres Frs. Stephen Bamisaye and Lawrence Ojobo. They came to meet me from Ekondo Titi in Kumbo Diocese. Because of the unrest between the Ambazonia freedom fighters of Southwest and Northwest Provinces and the Government of Cameroun, it was adjudged unsafe for me to visit Ekondo Titi. I remain grateful to Frs. Bamisaye and Ojobo for taking the risk to travel to meet with me. My joy of meeting them was indescribable.

I returned to Douala on April 17, 2021 and presided at Holy Mass on Sunday, April 18, 2021, at Holy Trinity Catholic Church. Like in Bokwaongo, the Liturgy was spirit-filled and captivating. The Church was filled to capacity. I received a heartwarming reception both at Mass and after Mass from the parishioners of Holy Trinity and their eminent pastors Frs. Adinye and Anaweokhai.

I proceeded to St. Joseph the Worker Catholic Church, Bonaberi, Douala, on April 19, 2021. Frs. Livinus Agi, MSP., Fr. Festus Ezeagu, MSP., and selected parishioners, waving green leaves as symbol of peace, with three beautiful girls with a bouquet of flower, welcomed me to St. Joseph the Worker. The next day witnessed a formal welcome and reception for me both at Mass and after Mass. The elaborate reception was exhilarating, spiced with varied cultural dances. The vibrant AMSP of St. Joseph the Worker Church dressed in their magnificent attire stood out during the reception. I invited them to attend next year’s Open and Thanksgiving Day Celebration in Iperu-Remo, Ogun State.

An indispensable part of my visit was my one-on-one meeting with my MSP brothers, in order to strengthen, encourage, and support them in their missionary calling. There are eight MSP currently working in three Dioceses in Cameroun: Buea, Kumbo, and Douala. Despite challenges here and there, I must acknowledge that our brothers in Cameroun are doing well, and bearing tremendous witness to Jesus Christ and the Missionary Society of St. Paul of Nigeria. It is worth stating that Cameroun was one of three countries MSP first went to in 1986. The other two countries were Liberia and the USA. I am delighted that my first two official pastoral visits outside Nigeria were to Liberia (November 2020) and Cameroun respectively. 

By a stroke of Divine Providence, I was privileged to attend the funeral of Christian Cardinal Tumi during my visit to Cameroun. Cardinal Tumi invited MSP to the Archdiocese of Doula in 1994. I also visited and prayed at the grave of our deceased confrere Fr. Linus Egbeji, who was parish priest of St. Joseph the Worker Church, Douala, when he died on February 24, 2012. Fr. Livinus Agi showed me the spot where Fr. Egbeji was killed in a car accident.

Undoubtedly, my pastoral visit to Cameroun Mission was quite fruitful and memorable. May God continually bless MSP Mission in Cameroun. And may the Blessed Virgin Mary intercede for the Missionary Society of St. Paul of Nigeria both now and forever! Amen.   

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