The Church in Cameroon is wrapping up centenary celebrations for evangelization of the region.
Archbishop Cornelius Fontem Esua of Bamenda, in western Cameroon, is preparing for the concluding celebrations, along with prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, Cardinal Fernando Filoni.
Evangelization of the country began in 1912 with the arrival of the Dehonians German fathers, Archbishop Esua told Fides Agency.
After Germany was defeated in the First World War, the priests were forced to abandon their missionary efforts in Cameroon. “For a certain period of time, up to 1922, this area was left without priests, until the arrival of the Fathers of the Society of Mill Hill, followed by missionaries from other congregations”.
Describing the missionary efforts of today, Archbishop Esua said that missionaries from some 15 congregations operate within the Bamenda archdiocese, who are helped by around 70 diocesan priests. He added that vocations are increasing in the archdiocese, with 9 priests and 7 deacons to be ordained during Cardinal Filoni’s visit for the centenary.
Today, out of a population of 1,300,000 in Bamenda, 20 percent are Catholics, the archbishop explained. Accounting for about 5 percent are other Christian denominations and Muslims, while the majority practice traditional indigenous religions.
With regard to evangelization, the archbishop said, “we place great emphasis on inculturation of faith in our apostolic activities. In particular, the translation of the Scriptures into local languages,” as well as “our activities of human and social promotion help us in the first evangelization.”