On Sunday, Oct. 25, 2015, the St. John Paul II Parish in Minkama, in the diocese of Obala in Cameroon, celebrated their parish fair.
The festivities were presided over by the Bishop of the Diocese of Obala, the Most Rev. Sosthèn Léopold Bayemi Matjei. During the Eucharist, the Bishop ordained to the diaconate Br. Immanuel Habumuremyi, MIC, a native of Rwanda and member of the Vicariate of Our Words.
For Frs. Christopher Pazio, MIC, and Richard Kusy, MIC, superiors of the Marian Vicariate in Africa, this event was also an opportunity to give thanks for their 25 years of religious life in the Congregation of Marian Fathers.
The ceremony began with the chairman of the parish council’s welcome to the invitees, among whom were many priests and nuns from different congregations. Also present was the Provincial Superior of the Franciscans in Krakow. The ceremony was attended by a group of nearly 50 Rwandans who permanently reside in Cameroon. Mrs. Myriam Etoga, an honorary consul of the Republic of Poland in Cameroon for many years, also attended.
After the Gospel reading, Fr. Ryszad Kusa, MIC, Superior of the Vicariate of Our Lady of the Word in Rwanda, asked the bishop to ordain Brother Emmanuel a deacon. On behalf of the Church, the Bishop accepted the request and ordained Br. Emmanuel to the diaconate. Then the Bishop delivered a homily. A few days before the ceremony, Br. Emmanuel had come down with malaria, which weakened him greatly. At the beginning of his homily, the bishop spoke directly to Br. Emmanuel, addressing to him words of encouragement and sharing a similar experience, which he had had prior to his own priestly ordination. The bishop said that he fully trusts that the sacrament of Holy Orders shall renew Br. Emmanuel’s physical strength, just as had happened in his own case.
The bishop thanked the Congregation of Marian Fathers for their selfless pastoral work at the St. Pope John Paul II Parish, formed the year before. He spoke to the faithful about the parish’s patron saint, depicting him as a man of prayer who used to immerse himself in deep prayer, forgetting the surrounding crowd, the flashes of cameras … . This prayerful union with Christ gave him the strength to faithfully carry out the mission entrusted to him by God in the Church. The Bishop encouraged the faithful to learn from St. John Paul II that attitude of prayer and trust in God.
The rite of ordination to the diaconate took place after the homily. Deacon Emmanuel is now the sixth African Marian ordained to the diaconate by Bishop Sosthèna. Five previously ordained deacons are priests now and work on their pastoral assignments at the Marian outposts in Rwanda and Cameroon. Currently, the Marian Seminary in Ngoya-Yaoundé has 11 seminarians preparing for ordination at various levels; nine of them are from Rwanda and two from Cameroon. There are a total of 10 postulants and novices in Rwanda, out of which five are from Cameroon.
At the end of Mass, the Bishop blessed the parish’s statue out of Our Lady of Fatima and the new large painting of St. Pope John Paul II. Then the faithful had the opportunity to honor the relic of St. John Paul II’s blood by kiss or touch.
The festivity was concluded with a communal meal, organized by the Parish Council and the Catholic Action movement.
Fr. Krzysztof Pazio MIC