Following his installation as assistant bishop of the Mamfe diocese, Mgr Andrew Nkea will need to face the problems that have affected the priesthood for the last couple of years. Some of the problems include priests who abuse children, corruption and priests known to wear their trousers the wrong way round (No explanations needed here).
He will be managing a good number of priests and with worldwide concerns over the behaviour of some priests, Iroko Africa asked some of those who attended his ordination how he could bring some order into his priestly flock.
Sr. Edith Itoe, Principal, BJPMC, Buea
I know Bishop Nkea as a man of principles and with a lot of love in him. I believe that love is contagious. If he loves his priests in his Diocese, they will in turn understand in spirit and in truth as he (Mgr Nkea) says that love is at the centre and with love, they will continue to understand the more what their priesthood is and they will continue to live it. He is a special example for his priests, looking at his (Mgr. Nkea) own life. The way he lives, the others will follow suit.
Sr. Jacky Atabong, Sisters of St. Therese, Douala
Before his Episcopal Ordination, Mgr. Nkea was a priest. He has to go on by showing a good example. Through his own life, he should show what he expects from his priests. I expect him to have a fatherly approach to issues. He should understand where the priests are coming from, listen to them, what their problems are, why they are involved in those problems and together with them, find the way forward. He cannot live for another priest. A priest has to live for himself. He can only give direction and the person decides to follow or to find their own way.
Senator Charles Mbella Moki, Buea
He should continue to be the Bishop Nkea he has been while a priest. He should continue to connect so well with people, be hard working, prayerful, dedicated to his vocation, exhibit a human touch in all he does and continue to do that in his pastoral ministry. If he does the aforementioned, the response will be positive.
General Marie Nana Abunaw, Yaoundé
There is a lot of corruption and promiscuity in the priesthood. My wish is that Bishop Nkea, who has come to Mamfe Diocese, will be able handle these vices and brighten the image of the Catholic Church and Christianity in general. From his biography, I know he will deliver the goods with God being his helper.
Gregory Alem, Business Magnate, Douala
He should be an exemplary priest. I repeat, an exemplary priest. And inspire others to be. There are many qualities to a priest and a priest can only be an image of his Bishop. That is the only way to inspire those in the ministry and those to be called. Remain a priest, a faithful priest, practise what he says and continually lead the folk as has been the custom in the church for the past 2,000 years.
Mrs Kate Fotso, Entrepreneur, Douala
For those who know him well enough, he is somebody who is profound in thought, spirit, analysis and understanding. Spiritually, he will not be short of tackling the challenges of today’s priesthood. He will have Divine guidance so long as he stays spiritually deep as he has always been. I know that the Holy Spirit will guide him and show him how to go about it.
Prof. Michael Ndobegang, Yaoundé
Bishop Andrew Nkea should tackle the challenges of his episcopacy with faith, devotion, courage and consistency. He should have faith by believing in his God, consistency by taking initiatives and actions he will pursue sustainably, with devotion because he should also believe in what he is doing and above all courage because it will require that he does a lot of things. He must have conviction in what he does. He should make Mamfe Diocese much more beautiful in the face of God as they have put it.
Rev. Fr. Joe Awoh, Registrar, CATUC, Bamenda
Bishop Nkea has a lot of experience like most of us priests. He has a major advantage because he has held a lot of responsibilities in the church, which give him an extra touch. He understands the situation in which we (priests) live. The main difficulties we (priests) have today is that we are more divided than we were before. We are becoming more materialistic than we have been. Many of our priests act out of emotions and attachment to persons than I think from personal conviction. Those are issues which he masters and he should tackle them. He is gifted in the direction of management and his training gives him that capacity to manage those issues. Having worked as Bishop Secretary, Consultor in the Diocese, Secretary at the Episcopal Conference, he understands the issues and can bring them together for a lasting solution. It is absolutely necessary at this time. If the presbyterium, the priesthood are united, speak with one voice, then evangelisation is more effective and efficient. When we are dispersed, at each other’s throat, it is very difficult to evangelise because we are counter witnesses to what we preach. He should take it that way and bring his priests together. They are happy with his coming to Mamfe. That will enhance the growth of Mamfe and why not encourage priestly solidarity across the ecclesiastical province.
Mrs Nina Fussong Eben Ebai, Senior Translator, Yaoundé
He needs all the support from his priests and the Diocese in general to effectively carry out his mission. The challenges are enormous but as a young and dynamic Bishop now, he should reach out to people, sample opinions, find out what the canker worms are that are eating up the priesthood in general and then have a pragmatic approach to issues. We have seen that dogmas have not worked; rules and just rules have not been the solution. You have to live an exemplary life, look into the priests and remind them of what the calling is all about. He should give his priests a challenge to make them better priests and the Christians too. We the Christians, contribute to make the priests what they are. We try to influence priests, get close to them for reasons that are ungodly. We encourage priests to look beyond the vows they took. If Bishop Nkea can bring the priests back to the vows they took at ordination, then they will rally more Christians behind them, be the good example and lead more people to God, which is what their vocation is all about. Then he would have been a practical Bishop and will bring in more young people into the church.
Veronica Tangwa, Buea
He knows the problems priests across Cameroon are facing. He should preach the gospel to the priests. Being a priest does not necessarily mean that you know the gospel. Most of the priests do not know what is expected from them. Bishop Nkea should tell them. Being a priest is not a matter of owning and driving a good car, being in an accessible parish where there is much money in the arms basket. Bishop Nkea should tell them who is supposed to be a servant of God. Jesus washed the feet of the disciples; a priest should be like that. Being a priest, you are a servant – not linking it to a high position in the society.
Cletus Kum, Catechist, Buea
Besides his profound and splendid educational career, Bishop Nkea should put God at the centre of everything he does, be prayerful and educate these priests, especially on the vocation they have been called to. He should remind the priests how they should carry out their vocation. Let them look at God to be at the centre of all and take Mary our Mother as their role model, who they can follow. And carry on with their work in the Bamenda Ecclesiastical Province in the way they have been invited to do. Priests should live their lives in a way that we Christians and members of other denominations should be able to see Christ in them. Priests should understand that money is not at the centre of everything as far as the priesthood is concerned. It is God first, remembering that they are servants of God and at the service of the people, especially when the Christians and the sick need them. Priests should be on time for mass and ensure that the doctrine and faith they are transmitting to Christians is that of the Catholic Church, which will help them grow spiritually and lead them to Heaven.
Rev. Fr. Humphrey Tata Mbuy, Archdiocese of Bamenda
Today’s priesthood is dealing with the constraints of the digital world. We are in an atmosphere of changes and great upheavals in the Church and the society. So, no pastor or priest will pretend that these changes do not have an impact in the way people and Christians think and do things. Bishop Nkea has to be conversant with the challenges that are in the society, which definitely have a deep religious impact on the people he will govern. Mamfe is no longer the Mamfe we knew thirty years ago. We’ve got an invasion of television, internet and all kinds of new media. These are influencing people and because of that the pastor, Bishop Nkea must be aware that these things are influencing his people. It is no longer as such the traditional society and culture as it were. There are cultural impacts and he must battle with them. Mamfe is only about twenty percent Christian. So, he has a huge area of primary evangelisation to do. There is also the secondary evangelisation because the people who come to church are the same people who go to the ‘ngambé houses’ and the same people behaving in an unchristian manner. So, he has quite a big bite to chew. He must be aware of that.
Hon. Peter Ayuk Arrey, Buea
The best things the Bishop Nkea can offer are prayers, hard work, counselling the priests so they maintain a high moral value. He should be far from materialism.
George Yenika Wirnkar, Douala
Bishop Nkea is coming into the episcopacy at a time full of challenges. However, the challenges have been there and they vary from one generation to another. The challenges of the priesthood and our times will be tackled by him if Christ is involved. He should handle them in a way that Christ would have tackled them Himself. He should follow in the footsteps of Christ. He should handle the issues according to the circumstances and should bring in a lot of love into his ministry, his fellow priests and the Christians. He should also have a lot of love for what he is doing. He should come into his episcopacy with Christ as his standard and with that Christ will give him all the answers into his problems.
Dr. Lucas Afotendem Nfeta, Dschang
He has some ground work to do. He has to get to the grass roots and bring more children and young people into the church and the priesthood. He has to reinforce all the catholic institutions in his Diocese and touch all the enclaves; Akwaya, Wabane, Nso-Atah and Mbindia being a young Bishop. He should make Mamfe Diocese a church for development. The church is not only for prayers. We have seen the church championing the course for development.
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