Christians of St Michael’s Parish Futru – Nkwen in the North West Region of Cameroon have celebrated the centenary of evangelisation of Nkwen village under the pastoral care of Piarist Fathers. The celebration was marked with a peak event on Wednesday May 29th 2019 with a Pontifical Holy Mass celebrated by His Grace Cornelius Fontem Esua, Archbishop of Bamenda.
While appreciating the efforts of the Congregation of the Piarist Fathers for the missionary work of evangelization since the arrival of first Piarists in the Archdiocese of Bamenda on the 26th December 1987, – Fr. Juan Yzuel, Angel Valenzuela and Fernando Negro –, the Archbishop encouraged the Christian community of Nkwen and the traditional authorities to continue collaborating with the religious community for a better future.
The Provincial Superior of the Piarist Fathers for Central African, Fr Evaristus Akem Ndi Sch P. noted that for the past thirty three years, the Piarists have not only embarked on the spiritual transformation of the people of God in Nkwen, but in line with the charism of the Congregation, many structures have been created for the education and formation of the little children and young people. He noted with great joy the cordial relation that exists between the Nkwen People and the Piarists which has favoured the work of evangelization since the arrival of the Piarists in Nkwen. At this moment of socio political instability in the English regions of Cameroon, he encouraged the Christians to have faith and trust in God and create new ways of living their faith as community of believers. A centenary year is a year of grace, a privileged time to be reconciled with one another and a moment to thank God for the past 100 years as they look to the future with hope.
The Traditional Ruler of Nkwen, HRH Fon Azehfor III admitted that the Church and particularly the Piarists have greatly developed his Fondom and cited many prominent personalities including himself that have benefited from the schools of the Piarists. He thanked God for the many Nkwen sons and daughters who have accepted the call to Religious life. The traditional ruler encouraged all the people of God living in Nkwen to be God fearing and live in solidarity with one another
The Parish Priest of Futru, Fr Hippolyte Tanfen Wirnkar Sch.P., expressed his gratitude to the successful organisation of the activities of the Jubilee celebration. He was very happy that we have been able to celebrate the centenary of the faith in Nkwen. It has been a long period of activities with so much commitment from the Christians. He was also very grateful to the Archbishop of Bamenda who created time to celebrate with the people of God in Futru and to explain to them the significance of the Jubilee year. The Christians of Futru have received a lot of support from the Piarists under whose pastoral care the Parish is placed. We can only thank God and hope that God will continue to bless the people of Nkwen for the growth of the faith.
Activities to mark the centenary year will continue in Futru parish and the closing mass is programmed for December 2019. We wish to express our gratitude to the early Christians who returned from Fernando Po (Equatorial Guinea) after the first world war in 1919 and settled in Nkwen. we also think of Mgr. Paul Verdzekov of blessed memory who welcomed the Piarists in the Archdiocese of Bamenda in 1987 and entrusted the pastoral care of the people of Futru parish to them. In a special way, we remember and thank God for the first 3 Piarist Fathers who set up the first Piarist community in Futru Parish, Fr. Juan Yzuel, Fr. Fernando Negro and Fr. Angel Valenzuela and their successors, who braved the odds of cultural differences so as to bring God closer to the people of Nkwen. May the Lord bless them.
Fr. Evaristus Akem Ndi, Sch P.