Yaounde (Agenzia Fides) - "The Dehonians German fathers arrived in Cameroon in 1912 to evangelize this area of Cameroon" explains to Fides Agency His Exc. Mgr. Cornelius Fontem Esua, Archbishop of Bamenda, in the west of Cameroon, who is preparing to conclude the celebrations for the centenary of the evangelization of the area with the presence of the Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, Cardinal Fernando Filoni (see Fides 26/05/2014).
"After the first world war - continues Mgr. Esua - with the defeat of Germany, the German missionaries were forced to abandon the current Cameroon. For a certain period of time, up to 1922, this area was left without priests, until the arrival of the Fathers of the Society of Mill Hill, followed by missionaries from other congregations".
"Currently in our archdiocese there are missionaries of at least 15 different congregations. They are helped by 70 diocesan priests (religious priests are about fifty) while vocations are increasing. The Archdiocese of Bamenda hosts the Major Seminary of the province that currently houses 70 seminarians. During his visit, Cardinal Fernando Filoni will ordain 9 priests and 7 deacons", said the Archbishop.
Mgr. Esua also states that "20 percent of the population in Bamenda is Catholic, in fact, out of a total of 1 million 300,000, 300,000 are Catholics. The other two major Christian communities are Presbyterian and Baptist, Muslims account for 5 per cent, while the majority of the population belongs to traditional indigenous religions".
With regards to evangelization in Bamenda, Mgr. Esua says: "We place great emphasis on inculturation of faith in our apostolic activities. In particular, the translation of the Scriptures into local languages. Also - he adds - our activities of human and social promotion help us in the first evangelization. We have 145 primary schools with 26,000 pupils, 13 secondary schools with 7-8,000 students, some institutes for professional formation plus the Catholic university that opened its doors four years ago. With regards to health care we have 17 health centers and two hospitals," says the Archbishop of Bamenda. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 27/05/2014)