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At Priestly Anniversary, Cameroonian Bishop Lauded for His Sacrifices, Tireless Service

Invitation Card for Bishop George Nkuo of Cameroon's Kumbo Diocese on his 40th Anniversary of Priesthood/Credit: Courtesy Photo

Bishop George Nkuo of Cameroon’s Kumbo Diocese has been lauded for his sacrifices and tireless service among the people of God under his pastoral care amid the Anglophone crisis.

In his homily during the Friday, May 7 Holy Mass to mark the fortieth Priestly anniversary of Bishop Nkuo, Archbishop Andrew Nkea said that the Bishop of Kumbo has continually exercised his ministry with love and care.

“Bishop George loves the people of Kumbo with his whole heart and is ready to die with them and for them,” Archbishop Nkea said during the Eucharistic celebration held at St. Augustine’s College Campus grounds in Kumbo. 

He acknowledged with appreciation the Bishop Nkuo’s sense of duty saying that while the Diocese of Kumbo “remains one of the most affected centres of crisis and confrontation between warring factions” leading to the departure of people and the closure of businesses, “in all this conflict and situation, the Bishop of Kumbo did not run away from his diocese even for one day to hide and rest.”

Bishop Nkuo who was ordained a Priest for the Diocese of Buea in April 1981 “is ready to be the last man alive to tell the story of what has happened to the people of Kumbo,” the Archbishop of Cameroon’s Bamenda Archdiocese said during the May 7 celebration.

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He added in reference to Bishop Nkuo, “Even when some of his children treated him as a sheep drawn to the slaughter or like a criminal without a crime, he did not abandon his sheep to save his life.” 

Making reference to the Gospel of John, which describes a good shepherd as one who is ready to lay down his life for the flock, Archbishop Nkea said, “The good shepherd does not only lay down his life for his sheep but is also ready to defend his sheep, bandage the wounded, support the weak and feed the hungry sheep.”

A good shepherd must have faith, courage, love and be ready to stand for the truth at all times, the Cameroonian Archbishop said, adding, “We saw all these qualities in Bishop George during the Ngarbuh massacre where he was ready to defend the poor and the weak sheep and to stake his own life so that the truth prevails. And the truth prevailed,” the Archbishop said. 

In February 2020, the village of Ngarbuh within the Diocese of Kumbo was invaded by military personnel, an attack that left 24 civilians dead and hundreds displaced.

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Following the incident that is now known as the Ngarbuh massacre, Bishop Nkuo blamed the army for orchestrating the killing of the people of God in the village that lies within his episcopal see.

While the Cameroonian government immediately denied claims of a deliberate massacre terming them as false accusations, it later admitted that three soldiers alongside members of a vigilante group attacked a rebel base and killed five people before “discovering that three women and 10 children were killed” in the firefight.

The Archbishop attributed Bishop Nkuo’s courageous witnessing to the Lord saying, “We can only say that on this 40th anniversary of your Priesthood, God himself is looking down on you with love and addressing you with the same words he addressed the Prophet Isaiah saying ‘here is my servant whom I uphold, the chosen one in whom my soul delights. I have endowed you with my spirit that you may bring true justice to the nations.’”

“We have seen in your ministry that there is joy in serving the Lord. The joy does not come from material benefit or from some earthly comfort but comes from the presence that we enjoy in being in God’s house. This joy does not know age, time or place,” Archbishop Nkea said.

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He continued addressing himself to Bishop Nkuo, “Although you have completed your 68th year of age, your physical strength may be getting less but your spiritual strength is getting stronger. You have an enormous task ahead of you and you will still bear more fruit because the joy of the Lord will be your strength as you dwell in his house.” 

In his homily May 7, Archbishop Nkea also encouraged young Priests to serve the people of God faithfully. 

“The temptations surrounding the Priesthood and Religious Life in the world today are many but this feast is an occasion to remind us that with God, all things are possible,” he said and added, “The Lord is always there to protect you because he is your shepherd and there is nothing you shall want. Do not be discouraged and do not be afraid.”

Archbishop Nkea also called on the people of God in the Cameroonian Diocese to pray for their Bishop “that despite the sound of bombs, the unending sound of guns firing, his courage will always be on the rise.”

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“Pray for Bishop George that even when he faces opposition, misunderstanding and betrayal from his own collaborators, he may not give up on Christ,” Archbishop Nkea said and added, “Pray especially for Bishop George that his faith may never fail and that when he is strong, he will strengthen you.”