This Sunday is Bamenda Sunday
Bishop Michael Bibi, Auxiliary Bishop of our twin diocese of Bamenda has sent a video message to us for Bamenda Sunday which we celebrate each year on the first Sunday in November. You can watch it here. Pictured is Bishop Michael with me when he visited for Bamenda Sunday last year.
On Sunday, I shall celebrate the 10am Mass in the Cathedral and then bless and unveil a new plaque in the Bamenda Room.
In 1974 the Diocese of Bamenda and Portsmouth were formally twinned. Bamenda is the capital of North West Province in Cameroon, West Africa. In 1970 the Diocese of Bamenda had been created and Paul Verdzekov appointed as the first bishop. Later the diocese of Kumbo was split from Bamenda and Cornelius Esua appointed its bishop. In January 2006 Archbishop Paul retired to be replaced by Archbishop Cornelius who today is assisted by Bishop Michael Bibi.
Back in 1974 the first missionaries from Portsmouth went out to Bamenda to spread the Gospel. Today that situation is now reversed, this autumn we have three priests from the Diocese of Bamenda ministering in our Diocese of Portsmouth and hopes and prayers that two more will be awarded the appropriate documentation to join us in 2018.
In 2014 we celebrated the 40th anniversary of the link with delegations from both dioceses visiting each other. Over the past 40 years more than £1,000,000 raised by Portsmouth Diocese has been spent on supporting projects in Bamenda in collaboration with the local communities in the areas of Faith, Health, Education and Social Welfare. More details on this work can be seen under the Projects Section of the website. www.bamendaandportsmouth.com
The Portsmouth Bamenda Committee serves this link on behalf of the Diocese as a channel of information and mutual support, and by administering the funds that are contributed from the annual Bamenda Sunday collection and from parishes and other organisations/institutions who have taken on specific projects.
The socio-political climate in Cameroon remains tense. Most schools in the English speaking part of Cameroon remain shut. Peaceful demonstrations have led to arrests, torture, and killing of some citizens by the military. The Bishops decided to speak out on the situation.
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Jesus Christ
It is with sadness and concern that I bring to your attention the deteriorating socio-political situation in Cameroon, particularly in the regions covered by our sister Diocese of Bamenda. Our two dioceses have been intimately linked for over forty years and, as you know, we currently have three priests from Bamenda serving in our parishes. The disturbances in Cameroon have complex origins in the relationship between the French and English speaking provinces and in the recent imposition of controls by the political authorities. Most schools in Bamenda have been closed since last November. Peaceful demonstrations have led to arrests, torture and the killing of citizens by the military. It is instructive to read the statement from the Cameroon Bishops about the tensions in this week’s diocesan Enews.
At this time, I ask your prayers for peace, reconciliation and a just outcome. I have written to Archbishop Cornelius to express the prayers, solidarity and support of the clergy and faithful of our Diocese of Portsmouth. I invite you all to offer the Rosary this week for the intentions of Bamenda Please also consider writing to your MP to ask our government leaders here in Britain to do all they can to assist the situation and to bring about peace and justice.
With my prayers and best wishes,In Corde Iesu, +Philip
Please pray this prayer for them and for their people: That peoples in need may find help and that peace and security may be firmly established everywhere, especially in our twin diocese of Bamenda, and throughout the Anglophone area of Cameroon.