The Archbishop of the Bamenda Archdiocese has described his own life as a miracle. His Grace Cornelius Fontem Essua was speaking at the All Saints Parish Church Bayelle Saturday April 7 during an event organized by Bambui Deanery to celebrate his 35th anniversary (of Episcopal Ordination) as Bishop and his advanced 75th birthday.

Recounting several instances where he came close to losing his own life, the leader of the Roman Catholic in the Archdiocese of Bamenda maintained that he can only give glory to God for keeping him this long. He remembered with precision when he was just eight. How he fell from a tree unto a fence where a stick entered his armpit for about 5cm. the stick was pulled out; hot oil poured on the bleeding wound for disinfection. Though he moves around with the scare till date he sees that as a miracle and so must give God the glory. He remembers several deadly road accidents and several open heart surgeries stating “I consider all these a participation in the passion of Christ.” The homily delivered with the theme “To God be the Glory”, the Archbishop admitted with humility “that my live has been a miracle.” Going by his experiences, the Prelate noted “Thank God always for the gift of our lives…. We are not responsible for our lives …our lives depend on him.” 

In an earlier address by the Dean of Bambui Deanery, Rev Fr Hippolyte Wirnkar Tanfen who doubles as Parish Priest for St Michaels Parish prior to inviting the Archbishop to lead the Pontifical High Mass noted that the Church in the deanery was assembled “to raise the Cup of Salvation during the celebration” was “for thanks giving and asking for God’s blessing.” 

The celebration by Bambui deanery comes after Widikum and later others following a decision by the college of Consultors, the laity council and other decision making bodies of the Bamenda Archdiocese according to the celebrant. 

Enter His Grace Cornelius Fontem Essua
Born in Mbetta-Nguti in Koupé-Manengouba Division of the South West region in July of 1943, His Grace Cornelius Fontem Essua only had the previllege to go to school ten years later following the distance he had to cover to get to St Theresia Catholic Primary School from where he earned his FSLC. He successfully went through several institutions amongst them; St Joseph College Sasse, the Birgard Memorial Seminary Enugu Nigeria and the Pontifico Collegio Urbano Rome before his ordination as Priest on the 29th of December 1971. 

From Mamfe where he served as Curate, he returned to Rome to continued studies at the Pontifical Biblical Institute before returning to Cameroon to work as Formator in the Saint Thomas Aquinas AMjor Seminary Bambui. 

He was later nominated in September of 1982 and Ordained Bishop of Kumbo in December of same year. While serving as Bishop of Kumbo he also held other posts of responsibility nationally and internationally amongst them President of the Cameroon National Episcopal Conference before his appointment as Co-Adjutor Archbishop of Bamenda on the 7th December of 2004. On the 24 of January 2006 he took over as Archbishop of Bamenda. 

Expected to clock 75 on the 2nd of July 2018, His Grace Cornelius Fontem as per Roman Catholic laws will be going on retirement consequently the Archbishop noted during the Bayelle event, his Deanery tour is considered necessary meeting with the Christians in his current office. Between now and then it is also expected that a new Co-Adjutor or Archbishop will be appointed to take over from him. At the moment the Archbishop is assisted in the running of the Archdiocese of Bamenda by an Auxiliary Bishop His Lordship Michael Bibi. Contributions are reportedly ongoing in Bamenda to ensure a perfect retirement experience for the Prelate.
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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