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Peace in Anglophone Regions a Prayer Intention of Year of St. Joseph: Religious Brother

Br. Singfred Sinior M’sene Tata, member of the Religious Order of Saint Martin of Buea (BSMB). Credit: Courtesy Photo

The Year of St. Joseph offered an opportunity for the people of God in the North West and South West regions of Cameroon to pray for peace, a Religious Brother in the country told ACI Africa in an interview.

In the Wednesday, October 27 interview, Br. Singfred Sinior M’sene Tata noted that the protracted insecurity in Cameroon’s Anglophone regions, COVID 19 restrictions, and financial constraints prevented people from organizing symposia and other encounters to talk about Saint Joseph.

The Year of Saint Joseph is a “very great opportunity for us in the Anglophone Regions of Cameroon to pray in faith for the silent but powerful intercession of Joseph to end the crisis that has been raging in our regions for almost five years now,” the member of the Religious Order of Saint Martin of Buea (BSMB) said.

“St. Joseph is the best example of a silent but powerful protector of the Church,” Br. Singfred who is the Provincial Coordinator of Communication for the Ecclesiastical Province of Bamenda told ACI Africa.

Two English speaking regions of Cameroon, the North West and the South West, plunged into conflict in 2016 after a protest 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.

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Since then, the violent conflict has led to the displacement of at least 679,000 people. More than 600,000 children have not been able to go to school in the two regions and more than 3,000 lives have been lost in the conflict that has lasted close to five years.

In the October 27 interview with ACI Africa, Br. Singfred recounted his personal experience of the year of St. Joseph.

“The year of Saint Joseph helped me to research and know more about Saint Joseph. I can distinguish the first Joseph who was sold into slavery by his brothers and Joseph the foster father of Jesus; Joseph as known by the Popes,” Br. Singfred who also serves as Provincial Secretary of the Provincial Episcopal Commission for Social Affairs said.

He continued, “Joseph comes second to Mary in the magisterial pronouncements of the Popes. About 47 Popes had made serious pronouncements about Saint Joseph.  In fact, I discovered that Joseph was less spoken about only in Biblical accounts.”

“The year helped me to understand how to be a good father figure in the example of St. Joseph. I was able to see and appreciate why it is necessary to go to Saint Joseph in the most difficult times in life,” the BSBM member said.

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“I think all Christian fathers should learn from him how to be a true Christian father,” he appealed, and added, “I saw why Pope Pius IX was inspired to go to Joseph on December 8th 1870 by proclaiming him the Patron of the Universal Church.”

The Year of St. Joseph, he continued, “challenged me to ask myself what type of fatherly figure am I to those who look up to me.”

Pope Francis proclaimed the “Year of Saint Joseph” to run from 8 December 2020 to 8 December this year, calling upon Catholics across the globe to celebrate “a man who goes unnoticed, a daily, discreet and hidden presence,” who nonetheless played “an incomparable role in the history of salvation.”

In the Apostolic Letter titled Patris corde (“With a Father’s Heart”), the Holy Father describes St. Joseph as a beloved father, a tender and loving father, an obedient father, an accepting father; a father who is creatively courageous, a working father, a father in the shadows.

The Year was launched in the Diocese of Buea in March on the Feast of the Holy family with a pastoral letter from Bishop Bibi Michael.

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During the October 27 interview with ACI Africa, Br. Singfred who also serves as Director of Communication for Buea Diocese outlined some of the activities entities in the Cameroonian Diocese organized to mark the Year of St. Joseph.

“On March 19, 2021, the Diocese witnessed the largest number ever of CMA members dedicated in a single event. Since then, the Catholic Men Association (CMA) has been leading the Diocese in the various schools of Saint Joseph in the Deanery levels across the seven deaneries of the diocese,” he said.

He continued, “I have witnessed debates, discourses and retreat to this effect organized by the CMA to mark the year.”

Br. Singfred further said people who read the Bishop Bibi’s Pastoral letter have been “benefitting from all the indulgences attached to the year by way of saying prayers to Saint Joseph, going to confessions and keeping Wednesday as a day of saint Joseph etc.”

“The year shall be concluded at the diocesan level in December at All Saints Church Mutengene,” he said.

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He continued, “It has been a quiet celebration like Saint Joseph himself in Buea Diocese but above all more people have added to those who know and love Saint Joseph in Buea Diocese because of this year’s celebration.”

Making reference to St. Teresa of Avila, the Manager of Divine Mercy Radio Buea said, “The experience of Saint Teresa should be the experience every Christian should aspire to have when invoking saint Joseph in faith.”

 “I do not remember ever having asked anything of St. Joseph that he did not grant me, nor can I think without wonder of the graces God has given me through his intercession, nor of the dangers of soul or body from which he has delivered me,” he further said in reference to St. Teresa.

Br. Singfred added, “Let every Christian invoke Saint Joseph with the faith of Saint Teresa of Avila.”