Bamenda (Agenzia Fides) – The dynamism, the vitality, commitment and growth of the Church in Cameroon, “is the result of excellent missionary work of the part of numerous men and women missionaries of the past to whom we pay homage today ; however it is also the fruit of the pastoral work undertaken in your respective dioceses, with great sacrifice and dedication”, this was underlined by the Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, Cardinal Fernando Filoni, in his meeting with the Bishops of the African country in the evening of 28 May, in Bamenda (see Fides 26/05/2014;27/05/2014)..
“Despite the limited means at her disposal , and often under difficult conditions – the Cardinal said -, the local Church makes a considerable contribution towards alleviating the suffering of people afflicted by poverty, insecurity and other social constraints. I warmly encourage you to continue this important mission to proclaim the Gospel and promote human development following the example of Jesus, our divine Master”.
After urging the Bishops to nurture a spirit of communion, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, dwelt on certain pastoral priorities to be tackled “with courage and lucidity”, for example “re-launching evangelization ad gentes, family pastoral care , ongoing formation of clergy and laity. To this, he said, one must not forget to add problems related to the ongoing proliferation of sects, and other heterodox renewal groups, as well as a growing tribalism that is infecting Dioceses, polluting the atmosphere of communion and unity, unfortunately even within the heart of the clergy and of religious communities.” At the end of his address Cardinal Filoni recalled that the Congregation for the Evangelisation of peoples “continues to follow with attention and deep concern the situation in the north of the country” where three missionaries, two priests and a sister, are held hostage.
In the afternoon of 29 May the Prefect of the Church’s missionary Congregation met the local priests. “I know very well how arduous is your work, which you carry out in contexts that are often very exigent, and in circumstances that are gruelling and even painful due to every kind of difficulties. Far from immobilizing and paralyzing you, let these difficult situations light again within you a missionary fire and zeal, so that you can continue to audaciously announce the Gospel, which is the source of true liberation and salvation.”.
After recalling that evangelisation is the “principal task of the Church”, Cardinal Filoni urged the priests to deepen their spiritual life : “Remember that the fruitfulness of your priestly ministry and the effectiveness of your pastoral activity depend essentially on your communion with Christ,”. He then dwelt on the importance of celibacy, the life style of priests and relations with the laity, the administration of material goods, referring to certain exhortations on this subject of Pope Francis. Lastly the Cardinal urged them to “live the joy of being priests”, a joy which is not an emotion, the joy of feeling “ that for him we are not numbers, but persons, and to experience that He is the one who is calling us.” (SL) (Agenzia Fides 30/05/2014)