Message of Congratulations to His Lordship Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-Elst

Message of Congratulations to His Lordship Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-Elst

Your Excellency,

Yesterday. 28th of November 2007. we received with great joy the news of your appointment as Bishop of Limburg. by the Holy Father. His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI.

On behalf of the entire Diocese of Kumbo. Cameroon. Africa. I write to congratulate you for your appointment to succeed Bishop Franz Kamphaus who retired as Bishop of Limburg on the 2nd of February 2007.

In fact. the people of God of the Diocese of Kumbo-Cameroon have since 1987 journeyed together in faith with the people of God of the Diocese of Limburg-Germany. The growth of this relationship of partnership has in many significant ways enriched the people of both Dioceses. As a result of this growth. some six parishes are now twinned to each other from both sides. This year 2007 marks the 20th anniversary of this partnership relationship. We celebrated this very significant event on the 22nd of April 2006.

We will be celebrating the silver Jubilee of the Diocese of Kumbo on the 8th of December 2007. We will be happy to welcome Mgr. Franz Kasper, who will represent your Diocese at this important celebration. We are confident that with your appointment as the Bishop of Limburg, we will do everyhing on our part to keep the partnership and collaboration benveen our two Churches.

We are reliably infbrmed that your installation at Limburg will take place on Sundav 20th January 2007. The Diocese of Kumbo will surely be represented on that occasicn to manifest our solidarity with the Diocese of Limburg.

On the 5th of September 2006. a delegation of seven from the Diocese of Limburg was at my Episcopal Ordination which took place at St. Augustine.s College. Nso here in Kumbo. They were Mgr. Franz Kasper. Mr. Winfried Montz. Mr.. Christina Maier. Hans-Georg. Fr. Stephan, Daniella Luckacic and Vanessa Trieke. While four of them returned to Limburg on the 12th of September the same year, Daniella and Vanessa both missionaries in time stayed on for a period of one year working with the Kumbo Diocesan Family Life and Youth Apostolates respectively. Presently we have Christine Kloose and Jonas Blaschke with us for another one year term.

In the meantime. I wish to assure you. Mgr. Franz-Peter, of my prayers and those of all the faithful of the Diocese of Kumbo. May God Almighty continue to guide and bless you in your neu ministry as the Chief Shepherd of the Diocese of Limburg.

Frateraally Yours.

-George Nkuo
Bishop of Kumbo

The survival of Catholic schools depends on parents

“The survival of Catholic schools depends on parents,” Rev Fr Zephyrinus Y; Mbuh, Catholic Education Secretary of the Diocese of Kumbo

Interviewed by Livinus Tal Bam
Catholiceduationsec_2 Catholic schools and colleges in the Diocese of Kumbo recently took part in the Catholic Education week which ran from October 28, to Sunday November 4, 2007. To understand the reason behind the organisation of a Catholic Education Week L’Effort Camerounais had a chat with the Catholic Education Secretary of Kumbo, Rev. Fr Zephyrinus Y. Mbuh, who revisits the event and highlights its importance. Excerpts

Father, can you explain why Catholic Education officials have set aside a Catholic Education week?

Catholic Education is very important for Catholic Christians because Canon Law requires that Catholic Christians should bring up their children within the norms of the Catholic Faith. We, therefore, believe that this can only be is done properly in Catholic schools and also at home when Catholic parents take up their duties as first catechists and primary teachers of their children.

This year’s event was special, why?

First of all, the Diocese of Kumbo is celebrating its 25th Anniversary this year. As we are celebrating the Silver Jubilee of the diocese all other events that fall within this year have received a special touch. Catholic teachers, students, pupils and all other groups that have taken turn to celebrate the jubilee, have taken advantage of the occasion to commune with the bishop. Besides that fact it is a jubilee year, the Holy Father recently recognised the enormous contributions that some of our teachers have made to the promotion of Catholic Education and the propagation of the faith. These two points have given this year’s Catholic Education Week a special significance.

Despite the sacrifices made by Catholic teachers they continue to earn poor salaries. After the attainment of the age of maturity, can Catholic teachers in the Kumbo Diocese expect brighter days ahead?

There is always hope for Christians because Christians are people who live in hope. Empty stomachs or an empty pocket is not what matters. What matters is the goodwill which, I think all, our teachers have. It is because of the good will that Catholic teachers have that they have continued doing their work even on an empty stomach even when people try to discourage them. They have been deaf to all sorts of discouragement as the bishop said in his homily. We are proud of our teachers because at all times they have been working to the best of their abilities.

You have been encouraging pupils in Catholic primary schools to attend Catholic colleges. Many, if not, all of them did not take an active part in this event. Will this not adversely affect enrolment into Catholic colleges in the near future?

Definitely, enrolment to Catholic colleges depends very much on the performance of Catholic colleges in public exams. The results have been excellent and this has brought our colleges to the fore. That is what is going to encourage children from primary schools to come to our colleges and what is going to encourage parents to send their children to our colleges. I think the trouble we have is with the nursery and primary schools, not with the colleges except for a college like St. John Bosco Catholic college in Ngarum in Ndu Sub division which is found in an area that is not accessible. Otherwise, our colleges do not have enrollment-related problems.

As the Catholic Education Secretary for Kumbo, how do you evaluate the state of Catholic Education in the Kumbo Diocese?

Personally, I think the parents have not taken up their role fully. In other words, they still look up to the bishop as the one who has to provide for the schools. They look up to the bishop who has to provide for the teachers and for everyone. But the point is that the bishop has no ready-made financial source. He depends on the fees paid by parents. He expects them to send children to the schools which they have asked him to open and run. He expects them to pay fees promptly after sending the children to Catholic schools to enable him to pay the salaries of teachers.

Any difficulties encountered during the organisation of the Catholic Education week?

I think that there is a difficulty of communication in the sense that it is difficult to get information to all the corners of the diocese. Again, that difficulty comes about as a result of the nature of the terrain. For example, you must have noticed that places like Mfumte, Ako and Sabongari were not represented here because they are far away. We do hope that even in their distant locations, they participated in the activities of the week fully.

What strategies are being put in place to improve on the general situation of Catholic Education in this diocese?

What we are interested in at the moment is to let parents to understand that the survival of Catholic schools depends entirely on them because in Cameroon the government does not seem to favour Catholic Education. The government has promised subventions to enable Catholic authorities run their schools and pay their teachers, but the money never comes, or comes too little, too late. So, we depend very much on the parents to take up the schools as their own, pay fees and be concerned about the schools, the teachers and of course the children..

November 22, 2007


Bishop George Nkuo calls to order priests in Kumbo

Bishop George Nkuo calls to order priests in Kumbo who drink in bars, eat in chicken parlours and organise parties

Bishop_nkuo By Fr. Peter A. Foleng, SD

The second residential Bishop of Kumbo, Mgr George Nkuo, has castigated certain practices among priests within the Kumbo Diocese that he considers incompatible with their calling. While addressing Kumbo diocesan priests, with focus on what he called few thoughts I consider very dear to me,’ he made an inventory of the repeated accusations heaped on priests by many Christians in some parishes within the Kumbo Diocese. If gold should rust, what will happen to silver!

While addressing the priests, the bishop drew their attention to some of the inadmissible practices that some of them regularly indulge in that are considered repulsive by some, if not, a majority of committed Christians.

“— people are not generous in the Kumbo Diocese because priests drink in bars, eat in hotels or chicken parlours in Kumbo and have a reputation for organising parties in presbyteries for their girls friends,” the bishop pointed out.

From the bishop’s position it could be deduced that many priests are pushed into such practices by some Christians, reason why Bishop Nkuo was quick to stress that, “I told them not to spoil my priests,” before cautioning Christians to “– give alms to God not to the priests.”

These remarks were definitely no breaking news to many as priestly misconducts are regularly reported in Kumbo. The topic was not in the public arena for the first time as some priests have hitherto been discussing it freely with some of the lay faithful within the Kumbo Diocese. Many people are of the opinion that bars and chicken parlours are places of temptation not only for priests, but for Christians as well.

Without undercutting the pertinence of the accusations brought against them, many priests are of the opinion that it is not only myopic but misleading to believe that bars and chicken parlours are the only temptation venues as priests and the lay faithful interact with each other on a daily basis in shops, markets, banks and other financial institutions, public transport buses and even in church.

Presently more than 90 percent of the presbyterium in the Ecclesiastical Province of Bamenda are indigenous priests. The majority of these priests cherish the sacrifices that the people make on their behalf. Many Christians therefore think that some remedial measures have to be put in place to help priests maintain their dignity and reputation.

While condemning practices that may cause priests to sin, many Christians offer valuable assistance to priests. Mention should be made of women who offer food to priests especially during special feast days like Easter, Big Day Maria and Christmas. If many more families make such gestures, it may assist priests to stay and share together at home. There will be no need for priests to go queuing up in shops or elbowing their way through crowds in market places, since all their nutritional needs will be supplied by local Christians.

Many priests in the Diocese of Kumbo travel to different out stations on hired motor bikes. These are the same bikes that are used for commercial transportation in town and sometimes have to simultaneously carry priests and other passengers, as is fast becoming the practice these days. Since this is becoming a very popular means of transportation, parish communities could work towards providing needy parishes with some motor cycles. In places where the use of cars is easy, the parishes could also work towards purchasing cars for their parishes.

These are some of the things that most priests expect from their communities today. Christians should not just limit their actions to the giving of alms but should go further and assist priests function well in all aspects of their pastoral work. This cannot only be done through various novenas by apostolic groups but by taking up challenging financial responsibilities.

Christians who withhold alms under the pretext that the priests squander the money in bars or organise parties for their girl friends, are not making the situation any better but simply avoiding their Christian responsibilities. The families and countries of early and present day expatriate missionaries contributed and continue to contribute enormously towards evangelisation. This was not because these missionaries were or are all saints but simply because they were and are still aware of the importance of evangelisation.

Priests will truly preserve their dignity when they have enough and appropriate tools to carry out their pastoral duties. The Church has become truly local and her continues success depends on a strong symbiosis between Christians and priests. Without the one, the other cannot exist or exist acceptably and comprehensively. If palliative measures are put in place, priests will surely reflect their Christians as St. Augustine’s says in sermon 46:
“Surely if there are good sheep, there are good shepherds too, for good shepherds are made from good sheep.”

November 22, 2007