Be “apostle of hope” to People: Archbishop in Cameroon to New Bishop at Consecration

Bishop Aloysius Fondong Abangalo, ordained Bishop of Cameroon's Mamfe Diocese 5 May 2022. Credit: Mamfe Diocese

The newly consecrated Catholic Bishop of Mamfe Diocese in Cameroon has been encouraged to foster the virtue of hope in his Episcopal Ministry among the people of God in the Cameroonian Diocese.

In his homily during the consecration of Bishop Aloysius Fondong Abangalo, Thursday, May 5, Archbishop Andrew Nkea of Bamenda said that the Catholic Diocese of Mamfe has been severely affected by Cameroon’s protracted Anglophone crisis. 

You have come to Mamfe as an apostle of hope to the people of this Diocese,” Archbishop Nkea who has been at the helm of the Cameroonian Diocese as Apostolic Administrator, told his successor. 

The Archbishop who had served as the Bishop of Mamfe from January 2014 and was transferred to Cameroon’s Bamenda Archdiocese in December 2019 told the new Bishop to expect to shepherd “people who have been battered by the sufferings of the past years” amid the Anglophone crisis.

“You are inheriting a Christian people who have been battered by the sufferings of the past years and yet they are yearning for a bright future,” Archbishop Nkea told his successor, and added, “Many of your Christians are either internally displaced persons in other towns of Cameroon or refugees in Nigeria.”


The Archbishop of Bamenda further said that the new Bishop is taking up the leadership of a Diocese where many parishes remain closed due to the crisis that has affected the English speaking regions of Cameroon since 2016. 

Violence in the North Western and the South Western parts of Cameroon started after a demonstration by lawyers and teachers turned violent. An armed separatists’ movement claiming independence for the so-called republic of Ambazonia emerged following the government’s crackdown on protesters.

The skirmishes have led to the displacement of at least 712,000 while more than 2.2 million people are in need of humanitarian aid, the Human Rights Watch has reported

In his homily during the Episcopal Ordination of Bishop Abangalo, Archbishop Nkea emphasized the need for the new Bishop to give hope to the people of Mamfe. 

The Bishop is called to be a prophet, a witness and a servant of hope. He has the duty of instilling confidence and proclaiming before all people the basis of Christian hope especially where a culture leaves no room for openness and transcendence,” he said.

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Making reference to the Post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation of St. Pope John Paul II, Pastores Gregis, Archbishop Nkea explained the need for Catholic Bishops to foster hope in their ministry.

He said, “It is in fact the task of every Bishop to proclaim hope to the world: hope based on the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, a hope which not only concerns penultimate matters but also and above all that eschatological hope which awaits the riches of the glory of God, which surpasses anything.”

“Only by the light and consolation born by the Gospel can a Bishop succeed in keeping his own hope alive and nourishing the hope of those entrusted to his pastoral care,” the 56-year-old Archbishop said, still citing the October 2003 Apostolic Exhortation, Pastores Gregis.  

He acknowledged the fact that Episcopal Ministry can be overwhelming, and encouraged his successor to count on the Lord for strength. 

“You will one day look at these people of Mamfe and ask God what Moses did when he was being troubled by the people of Israel in the desert. You might ask, what have I done to displease you that you have put the burden of all these people on me alone?” Archbishop Nkea said. 


He added, “When these moments come, remember that only Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament will be your strength and that only the same Jesus in adoration will give you consolation.” 

Pope Francis appointed 48-year-old Bishop Abangalo to serve as the Bishop of Mamfe on February 22. He is to oversee the 10,500 square-kilometer Catholic Diocese that was erected in February 1999, with a population of 155,000 Catholics, according to 2019 statistics.

Magdalene Kahiu is a Kenyan journalist with passion in Church communication. She holds a Degree in Social Communications from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). Currently, she works as a journalist for ACI Africa.