Rev Anselm Yofendeh a Prince of the Oku Kingdom in the North West Region of Cameroon is one of the ten Deacons to have been Ordained Thursday 29 June, 2017 in the St Joseph Metropolitan Cathedral Big Mankon Bamenda by the Auxiliary Bishop Micheal Meabisue BIBI. 

The Prince attracted the attention of the thousands who braved the “kontri Sunday” stress to storm the cathedral during the presentation of candidates by their Rectors as he was accompanied by his father the Fon of the traditionally well-known and celebrated Oku to the alter where he was officially handed to the church.   Many Oku sons and daughters amongst them a traditional notables, elites and villages watched with admirable while others with disbelieve.  
“This is very strange. It is to me a miracle to see the Fon of Oku going to hand his possible successor to the Church to serve as a Deacon. God is still at work and he is doing marvelous things. This is one of them.” A Christian observed
In reaction the recently coroneted Fai Nkem-shi-mbie a traditional authority of Oku who doubles as General Manager of Bamenda Police Cooperative Credit Union BapCCUL stated “he is a prince from the present Fon and you saw the Fon went up to the altar and handed him to God. I think that is the practical action; I think that one speaks in such a way that anyone who can see will see clearly. So I don’t know how we can associate Oku or the Fondom to anything contrary to the calling of God.”
Ngum Richard Nfie-chileh another son of Oku added “today is a great day. I am extremely happy to see that the future Fon decides to take an important decision and he is supported by the entire village to become a future Father and today he is a deacon. We are very very happy.”
Like Oku sons and daughters who now argue that their community is not all about traditions or even witchcraft, Rev Fr Paulson Pasala an Indian Priest who has been serving in Elak Oku Parish for over a year and travelled to Bamenda for the deaconate ordination noted “being there is a good experience. They are people who have high respect for the Church and are deeply involved in the faith. Today has been a great and it is a witness of how people express their faith in God in a celebration of Life. We are working in a highly respected cultural setting of the palace of Oku but people have a high respect for religion. Even palace people have very high respect for Religion especially Catholic Church and most of them who are in the Palace are Catholics and the faith also is rich. Sometimes the Church and the traditions of Oku go hand in hand. This is not contradiction but it is always about walking hand-in-hand.”   
While indicating that his father has given all the support needed for his Vocation, Rev Anslem Yofendeh noted as he shares with this reporter the initial stage of his decision to pursue the priesthood vocation “I know when many people hear of Oku, they think of witchcraft, sorcery, very strong medicine, that is what they have seen; it is true but like the Bishop said during our ordination Mass, God can call from anywhere and I thank God for my father for the cooperation; he didn’t deny that I should not follow my call.” Whether worried about the fact that he could be Fon of Oku, Rev Anslem laughed and explained that “a priest as such offers sacrifices, and the Fon also offers sacrifices for a specific territory but the Priest offers the sacrifices of the Holy Mass anywhere in the world. He is God’s servant and offers sacrifices to God” adding insinuation that he is still Fon but for all God’s people in the world.
 

The Fon of Oku reacting on the Son’s ordination at the close of a reception at the Nkwen Fons Palace attended by the Host HRM Azehfor III with words from the Fon of Mankon observes “I am a Fon and the Fon of Oku for that matter and you want to understand that the Oku Fondom should be considered as a shrine fortunately I am quite close to God because I have a Baptist Church in the Palace and the Catholic Church very close to the Palace and I attend the Catholic church every Sunday…….After University I was Baptised a Catholic Christian.” Quizzed on his reaction after the prince told him he wanted to be a priest, the Fon added “It was not our wish. Out of a sudden said he was going to be a priest and there was no way we could stop him. I and the mother could not restrain him because if we did we could have going against God’s will.”
Rev Anslem was part of an Ordinandi made up of another deacon from Kumba to join two others from Mamfe, one from Buea, two from Kumbo, one from the Conceptionist and two from the Order of Friary Minor Capuchine whose superior Rev Fr Feliche sees the call to the order of deacons as a call to humility particularly in their order as demonstrated by their Founder Saint Francis of Assisi.
It has been a while a deaconate ordinations takes place in the Bamenda Cathedral with no candidate from the Bamenda Archdiocese but nonetheless many from Bamenda and beyond could brave the “Kontri Sunday or Ghost town” odds to be in the cathedral for the event.
Preach by example, prepare your homily, Focus your homily on the readings of the particular celebration, prepare spiritually before administering sacraments and rely on church documents like the Holy Bible,  Catechism of the catholic church and the magisterium is the message of the His Lordship Micahel M Bibi to the Deacons.

Derick BAKAH

Derick BAKAH

Bakah Derick is a Broadcast Presenter and Multimedia specialist with focus on sharing with the rest of the world the daily happenings in the Northwest Region of Cameroon. You can contact us on +237 675460750 or debakah2004@gmail.com.

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