By Isidore Abah
The newly consecrated Bishop of Mamfe, His Lordship Aloysius Fondong Abangalo, has appealed to the belligerents in the Anglophone Crisis to bury their differences and give peace a chance.
The Prelate was speaking recently at the esplanade of the Saint Joseph Cathedral in Mamfe, after his episcopal consecration and canonical possession of the See of Mamfe as the third residential Bishop.
Cognisance of the arduous task that lies ahead of him, and the challenges people in his territorial circumscription are subjected to, Mgr. Fondong said he has come in peace and as an ambassador of peace in the conflict-plagued area.
“Dear brothers and sisters, I have been appointed Bishop of Mamfe during a very difficult moment in the history of Cameroon. Many would have loved to be part of this celebration but because of the fear of the unknown, they preferred to stay back.
There is no doubt that the territory of the Diocese of Mamfe has experienced the worst casualties in what has become known today as the Anglophone Crisis.
A cross section of the Diocese is shutdown, many of our Christians and brothers and sisters constituted the greater number of Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, and those seeking refuge out of the country. Since February 22, 2022, when I was appointed Bishop, many people have expressed their concern to my coming to Mamfe, especially during this time…
On April 11, 2019, during a two day retreat, Pope Francis, kissed the feet of South Sudan’s warring leaders and said: ‘I am asking you as a brother to stay in peace, I am asking you from my heart, let us go forward.’
Following the example of Pope Francis, and believing strongly that the God we all worship is the God who makes what seems impossible possible, I say to everyone here present, and those of you following this celebration through the various means of social communication that I come to Mamfe in peace and I am ready to support in any way possible, the initiatives so far taken to put an end to this war,” Mgr. Fondong stated.
According to the Prelate, war is never a solution to any problem. He said war always leaves a people worse than it met them. “I know it is not possible for me to kiss the feet of those who have kept the steam of this war alive, however, as your brother, I stand here today and I beg each one of you from my heart, please, let’s do whatever it takes to put an end to this war. Let us look at the misery of our brothers and sisters and give peace a chance,” the Chief Shepherd of Mamfe appealed.
To the priests, consecrated men and women and the laity, the new Bishop exhorted them to work in collegiality with him to make his episcopacy in Mamfe Diocese peaceful and fruitful.
Earlier in his homily, the Principal Consecrator, His Grace Andrew Nkea, beseeched Mgr. Fondong to feed the people of God at the table of the word and to be an apostle of hope for the people of Mamfe, battered by war.
“Bishop Aloysius, you are called to be the shepherd of this great Diocese of Mamfe, the one family Diocese at a time when this Diocese has known very dark days with the war from the crisis that has rocked the Northwest and Southwest Regions for the past five years. Note that this war started in Mamfe, and I am convinced that the end of this war will come from Mamfe. You are inheriting a diocese when many parishes remain closed because of the war. Many of your Christians are either IDPs in other towns in Cameroon or refugees in Nigeria. Farms have been abandoned, businesses have been closed down, and some schools have grown into forest and have become hunting grounds for cane rats and antelopes, snakes and monkeys. You are inheriting a Christian people who have been haggard and battered by the sufferings of the past years and yet, they are yearning for a bright future. You have come to Mamfe as an apostle of hope to the people of this Diocese,” Archbishop Nkea stated.
Meanwhile, present at the episcopal ordination was the Apostolic Nuncio to Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea, His Excellency Julio Murat, 27 Bishops and the President of the Republic was represented by the Minister Delegate at the Presidency in charge of Defence, Joseph Beti Assomo. A cream of political, traditional and religious leaders answered present. Other speakers at the event wished the new Chief Shepherd of Mamfe a fruitful ministry in Mamfe.