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Awing Fetes Own First-ever Priest 

By Francis Tim Mbom — Rev. Eric Fru Pemanboh, who hails from Awing Village in Santa Sub-Division, Northwest Region, recently, went down in history as the very first indigene of that village to be ordained.

Rev. Fru’s ordination turned out to be a special one for the Awing people as the Fon, Fozoh II, and other elites of the area travelled home on Saturday, August 11, to join him in his very first holy mass after his August 4 ordination. Coming on the heels of what the Catholic Church had already done for Awing, Fon Fozoh said: “I am thankful to God for crowning all these achievements with the ordination of you, a son of Awing, as the pioneer priest of the Catholic Church from this valley during my reign.

May your ordination and first holy mass be the gateway to many more Catholic priests from our village.” The Ndong-Awing Cultural Development Association, NACDA National President, Peter Akote, saw in Rev. Fru’s ordination a good omen and a blessing coming on the eve of preparations to mark the Golden Jubilee of NACDA.

“Whenever we have one of ours called to serve in God’s vineyard, we should view it as a blessing to the entire Fondom,” he said. “As we celebrate our Golden Jubilee, NACDA welcomes our first priest,” he said. Prominent elite of Awing, Barrister Nico Halle, who could not attend the mass, nevertheless, had an encouraging message and prayers for the first priest. “The challenges ahead of you are manifold but we know that with your firm determination and commitment, God will stand by your side,” Nico Halle said.

On behalf of the Fru family, Christian Fru thanked all those who supported them both in prayers and otherwise. There were messages of thanks and support from a representative of the Fon of Baligham and other neighbouring villages as well as others from pastors from other denominations. Born on August 20, 1979, the 33-year-old priest did his primary and secondary school studies in Bamenda.

He joined the missionary priesthood, Congregation of the Sons of Immaculate Conception in 2001 after obtaining his GCE Advanced Level from Longla Comprehensive College, Bamenda.
Rev. Fru, having concluded his initial stages in his formation course, was sent to study Philosophy in the Bigard Memorial Seminary in Enugu Nigeria.

Back in Cameroon, he proceeded to the Catholic University of Central Africa in Yaounde for a degree course in Theology. After these years of formation, he returned to Bamenda where he continued with his priesthood mission in the field. In 2011, Rev. Fru was ordained a deacon and on August 4, His Grace Cornelius Esua ordained Fru priest of the Catholic Church.

The very first Anglophone Cameroon Catholic priest, Rev. Aloysius Wanki (of blessed memory) was ordained in 1949. Wanki’s ordination followed with that of Mgr. Lucas Atang in 1965. Since then there have been many other priests from Nso, Kom, Bakweri, Mamfe, Bakossi, Mankon etc.

First published in The Post print edition No 01368

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