Interviewed by Livinus Tal Bam
Since April 25, Kumbo Diocese has a new
parish in Melim. After the High Mass celebrated to mark the event, L’Effort Camerounais talked to the Bishop of Kumbo, Mgr George Nkuo, to have an over all appraisal of the new pastoral landscape in Kumbo following the creation of the Melim Parish. Excerpts:
My Lord, today marks another historic event in the life of the Church in Kumbo Diocese. What are your impressions after this celebration creating a new parish in Melim?
I must say that I am deeply impressed by the turn out and the key event which we are marking today, the opening of a modern parish. Melim is a parish which lives after the great desires of the local Church. We are trying to look into the plight of this parish, whose idea of the new way of being church has started very well. It is really an occasion for us to celebrate and thank God for this wonderful gesture and for the positive response from the people of God to become the Church in a new way.
What advantages will there be for Melim and its inhabitants now that it has become a parish?
Well, a new parish is also a moment of grace. Now that it has attained the status of a parish, it has the grace and the canonical rights which every parish is entitled to. This is something that we have to celebrate.
You have spoken at length and on many occasions about the dignity of the Priesthood and the exemplary life priests are called to lead. What advice can you give to the priests who will serve in this new parish?
One thing is very clear. Priests who are here already have a lot of experience on the new way of being church and I am very happy that they have really tried to live up to it. They have made a lot of effort and sacrifices to bring up the parish to where it is. I will only encourage them to keep it up, to build the spirit of the parish and through their lives, make the parish a family community of God’s people.
It is becoming more difficult for many of our Christians to distinguish between culture and faith. What advice can you give to the lay faithful in Melim?
I will not say that it is difficult for them to make the distinction. There is a mix up. The whole idea of inculturation means that people should be able to know their culture and way of life. They should be able to separate the good from the bad and steer clear of what is contrary to the Gospel. With inculturation, we allow the gospel to come into our whole culture as it is and to transform and uplift those areas of our culture that are anti Gospel. Let us incorporate those good values of our culture into the Gospel. That is the purpose of inculturation.
How can the erection of Melim to a parish contribute to the growth of the Diocese of Kumbo?
Melim is a pilot parish where people have actually shown that it is possible to develop a new way of being Church. Melim has taken a giant stride by demonstrating the power of Small Christian Communities. It has worked very successfully and I am very impressed with the effort.
Do you have a word for other communities, especially those that have had quasi-parishes for a relatively long time?
No two parishes are the same. I can only encourage and to appeal to them that a number of things are required for a parish to be created. I will encourage them to graduate from, call it the nursery school parish (quasi parish) and become to a full- fledged parish through hard work, cooperation and by trying to implement the pastoral plan we have for the Ecclesiastical Province.
May 09, 2008