Pilgrimage for Peace in Cameroon “expression of solidarity” with Troubled Regions: Bishop

Marienberg in Cameroon's Edea Diocese, venue for the national pilgrimage and prayer for peace scheduled to take place from April 23-24. Credit: Courtesy Photo

The national pilgrimage and prayer for peace scheduled to take place in Cameroon’s Edea Diocese is an expression of solidarity with the people of God in the troubled regions of the country, a Catholic Bishop has told journalists.

On April 4, members of the National Episcopal Conference of Cameroon (NECC) announced that the Central African nation will be consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary at the shrine in Marienberg, Edea Diocese.

Addressing journalists at a press conference Wednesday, April 20 ahead of the from April 23-24 prayer initiative, NECC President highlighted the importance of the pilgrimage and invited Catholics to actively take part in the event.

“The National Pilgrimage and Prayer for Peace to take place in Marienberg is an expression of solidarity of all our brothers and sisters towards the people of the troubled regions of our country that suffer in a visible way,” Bishop Abraham Boualo Kome told journalists.

Credit: Fr. Humphrey Tata Mbuyi


He said that the turning attention to all the degrading situations in the English-Speaking regions and the Northern part of the country has been inspired by “the Bishops’ continuous quest for peace to return to these areas.”

“The very fact of addressing God through prayer is a way of drawing the attention of all people of goodwill to get interested in these crises, the numerous deaths and destruction which risk becoming something normal,” the Local Ordinary of Bafang Diocese said.

Bishop Kome further said it is important to “continue to join efforts in prayer and ask for God’s guidance and inspiration for a permanent solution to these crises.”

“Peace is what is normal; when peace is absent, we are in something abnormal and we must always look for what is normal,” NECC President said.

Credit: Fr. Humphrey Tata Mbuyi

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He continued, “We cannot remain indifferent to what happens in these areas, because on a rigorous level what happens there has an impact on us.”

Two English speaking regions of Cameroon, the North West and the South West, are in a protracted conflict that was sparked by a protest involving lawyers and teachers in 2016.

An armed separatists’ movement claiming independence for the so-called republic of Ambazonia emerged following the government’s crackdown on the protests.

The armed separatists have reportedly been responsible for abductions and attacks in the Anglophone regions.

English speakers make up around 20 percent of the country’s population and have long complained about being marginalized by the French-speaking ruling class.


Credit: Fr. Humphrey Tata Mbuyi

In the far Northern region of the country, the Islamist armed group Boko Haram has carried out over 100 attacks since January 2019 killing more than 100 civilians, according to AllAfrica.

The conflict between government forces and Boko Haram has killed thousands of Cameroonians and displaced over 270,000 since 2014, leading to the rise of self-defense vigilante groups, AllAfrica has reported.

In the April 20 press conference, Bishop Kome invited Christians in the Central African nation to massively participate in the celebration of the Holy Eucharist scheduled for Divine Mercy Sunday on April 24.

“As Christians, we must be sensitive to the suffering of our people. That is why I invite all Christians and even all men of good will to come to Marienberg so that we continue to implore God's peace on our nation,” the Cameroonian Catholic Bishop said.

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Credit: Fr. Humphrey Tata Mbuyi

He explained the reason behind the consecration of the country to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, saying, “One of the qualities of Mary is that she is the one who intercedes for us in difficult moments.”

“Our faith therefore tells us that even if we have to continue to act, it is good, above all, to look for solutions where we can find them, and we think that in God we can effectively find this solution and we will entrust the situation to him through the intercession of Mary,” the 52-year-old Bishop who has been at the helm of Bafang Diocese since July 2012 said.

Speaking about the choice of Divine Mercy Sunday, the Cameroonian Bishop said, “These crises in the troubled regions of our country have created wounds and we all need God’s Divine mercy to move forward.”

“We need to pray for the conversion of hearts, for repentance from all atrocities committed in these crises and seek forgiveness and reconciliation. This can only be possible through God’s Divine Mercy and love,” Bishop Kome told journalists April 20.

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.