“May the Lord grant us ever to have confidence in his word, to hope in his liberating strength to marvel at the love with which he sustains us. May He always be close to every one of you and be present in your hearts by his peace,” he implored.
“May the marvelous gift of peace shine forth to every corner of this beloved land and upon every person who lives here,” the Vatican Cardinal further implored at the January 31 Eucharistic celebration during which, on behalf of the Holy Father, he bestowed on Archbishop Andrew Nkea Fuanya the pallium, a symbol of the latter’s participation in Papal authority.
Addressing Cardinal Parolin during the celebration, Archbishop Nkea said, “We feel very happy today and full of the Holy Spirit because the Holy Father Pope Francis has sent his Secretary of State to visit us in our diocese. This visit means a whole lot to the people of Bamenda in particular and to the Ecclesiastical Province in general.”
“Your visit comes at a time when the people of this Ecclesiastical Province corresponding to the civil territorial circumscription of the North West and South West regions of Cameroon have seen a lot of suffering,” the Cameroonian Archbishop told Cardinal Parolin.
(Story continues below)
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He continued, “Many of our people have suffered a lot from a situation they didn't create. Thousands are either internally displaced or have escaped as refugees.”
The 55-year-old Archbishop continued to highlight the negative effects of the crisis saying, “Businesses were shut down and for about four years, our children were not allowed to go to school. Children were used as baits for political motives and struggle.”
“Many Priests, Religious, Bishops and Lay people of this province have either been beaten, harassed or even killed in this conflict and yet the Church continues to carry the gospel message as the light of hope to a traumatized people,” he further said.
Speaking on behalf of the people of God in Cameroon, the Local Ordinary of Bamenda Archdiocese described Cardinal Parolin as one signaling peace and reconciliation in the country.
“We see you as a messenger of peace, as an ambassador of reconciliation, as a promoter of justice and in you; we see the presence of the Holy Father Pope Francis himself amongst us,” Archbishop Nkea said.
“Your presence is a consoling presence, his blessings bring peace, and his words come as the anointing for the wounds of those who are bleeding,” the Archbishop further said, adding, “We shall not waste the chance that your presence offers us to contribute and work for peace and justice and reconciliation.”
He acknowledged the Christian faith of the people under his pastoral care saying, “We the people of Bamenda lack many things but one thing we don't lack is faith.”
“The faith of those gathered here is greater than politics, intimidation and their presence is a proof that the devil is a liar,” the Archbishop said.
Cardinal Parolin who has been serving as Vatican’s Secretary of State since October 2013 and a Cardinal since February 2014 is expected to conclude his weeklong visit to Cameroon Wednesday, February 3.
Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.