On Saturday, Sept. 26, 2009, at The Divine Mercy Shrine in Atok, Cameroon, Brother Yves Oumarou, MIC, made his perpetual vows in the Congregation of Marian Fathers. This day will be memorable for all Marian missionaries serving in Cameroon and Rwanda in Africa. In the year when we celebrate the 100th anniversary of renewal of our Congregation, the 25th anniversary of the Marian presence in Rwanda, and after 10 years since the beginning of the Marian service in Cameroon, we now rejoice at Cameroon’s first vocation to our religious community. Praised be God!
Yves Oumarou is a native of Betare-Oya, a town in the diocese of Bertoua (about 300 km away from Atok), home of the Polish Sisters of St. Michael and some Polish priests. His vocation was born thanks to their sacrificial work, prayers, and witness of life. It was in Betare-Oya that Yves met with the first Marian — Fr. Franciszek Filipiec.
The solemn Mass during which Yves Oumarou became united with our Congregation through making of his perpetual profession was presided by Fr. Eugeniusz Zarzeczny, MIC, Provincial Vicar of the Polish Province of our Congregation. He also delivered the homily. We, the Marians in Cameroon, are grateful to him for personally preparing Yves for making his perpetual profession as well as for the retreats delivered to him and other Marian seminarians, Dominique Iyamuremye and Alexandre Gasigwa. We also thank Fr. Eugeniusz for his witness of fraternal life. Father Franciszek Filipiec, MIC received Yve’s perpetual profession of vows.
Attending guests included Yves’s family and friends who came from Betare–Oya, Bertoua and Yaounde; the Sisters of St. Michael from Betary-Oya and Ngelemenduka; the Sisters of the Divine Providence from Essiengbotu and Ayosu; the Sisters of St. Joseph from Omvan; the Sisters of the Most Holy Soul of Christ from Abong-Mbang; the Carmelite Sisters from Dimako; the Pallotine Sisters from Doume; the Pauline Fathers from Ayous; the pastor of the Essiengbotu parish; and the pastor from Yves’s home parish in Betare-Oya. Also participating were priests and seminarians from the Congregation of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.
For a year, while waiting to move into our own place, the Marians stayed in their House of Formation in Ngoya. Yves was living with them from the beginning of his four-year studies of theology and, along with seminarians from that Congregation, he attends the courses at the inter-congregational St. Cyprian Institute of Theology in Ngoya.
Local civil authorities and members of our parish in Atok and villagers also participated in the solemnity. They brought to the newly professed gifts from their fields and farms. After Mass, the newly professed received greetings and well wishes from participants, which was followed by an agape. A whole lamb that was first boiled and then smoked was served as a special treat. There was a torte for the dessert. It was a good opportunity for meetings and conversations. The weather was good with plenty of sunshine and heat throughout the day. A tropical storm with thunderbolts came from Abong-Mbang later at night, refreshing the air. Such storms are normal this time of year, since it is not the rainy season.
To us, the Marians who serve in Africa, the gift of Yves’s of perpetual profession is a sign of God’s blessing. The Lord rewards our work and let us rejoice in its fruits. At the same time, He encourages us to continue to give ourselves for Christ and the Church in imitation of our Immaculate Mother.
Fr. Grzegorz Myłek, MIC
Mission in Ngoya, Cameroon