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St. Anthony Parish F 

By Walter Wilson Nana

CameroonPostline — The St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Buea municipality is fifty years old.
Founded on June 13, 1962, the St. Anthony Parish was one of the first administrative acts of Bishop Jules Peeters, who had just been appointed Bishop of Buea Diocese by Pope John the XXIII.

Administrative officers and the laity join Vicar General Fr. Ngalame (in cassock) to cut Golden Jubilee cake

As the pioneer Parish Priest, Fr. Anthony Van de Vlught of the Mill Hill Missionaries thought of how he will begin his new assignment from Bishop Peeters, he (Fr. Anthony) received good news from Chief Samuel Moka Lifafa Endeley of Buea, who gave his approval for land that was selected for the establishment of the Parish House and the Church. With foreign aid from Germany and Rome, Fr. Anthony began the parish project in 1965 that will be completed in 1991.

It is the aforementioned Parish that took off as an outstation of the Regina Pacis Cathedral Parish in Small Soppo, Buea that today, at fifty, has given ‘birth’ to other mission stations and parishes in Buea. These include; Muea Parish, University of Buea Parish, Molyko Parish, Bokwaongo Parish, Great Soppo Mission Station, Sandpit Mission Station and Bova Mission Station.

As the St. Anthony Parish continues to count their blessings after fifty years, they have, amongst the thirty-nine priests, who have passed through the Parish so far, produced four Bishops.
These include; Archbishop Paul Verdzekov (deceased), Bishop Emeritus of the Buea Diocese, Mgr. Pius Suh Awa, Bishop of Mamfe Diocese, Mgr. Francis Teke Lysinge and the Bishop of Kumbo Diocese, Mgr. George Nkuo.

In his homily during the golden jubilee mass held on June 16, the Vicar General of Buea Diocese, Fr. Edward Ngalame, said it was time to thank God and praise him for all the graces received by the parish. “It calls for celebration,” he noted.

Fr. Ngalame told the huge crowd of Christians who turned out that the Parish has a great saint and man as their patron. While stating that St. Anthony was born in Lisbon, Portugal some 750 years ago, Fr. Ngalame added that his friends continue to increase across the world, everyday.

St. Anthony, who was canonised in 1235, is invoked as a finder of lost articles, especially when one prays with deep faith through him to God. Fr. Ngalame told the Christians to imitate St. Anthony’s humility, while inviting him (St. Anthony) to show goodness to the people of God and teach them to love for one another.

The sitting Parish Priest, Rev. Fr. Tobias Wirmum, Head of the Capuchin Friars, entreated Christians to build on what has been going on in the Parish, strengthen the foundation that was led down fifty years ago, while growing in holiness. “Let those, who will come after us find a better place that we built. Let us grow in our faith. That’s the essence of being a Christian and a Parish,” he advised.

The weeklong golden jubilee activities, which opened June 4 in all the mission stations crafted out of St. Anthony of Padua Parish with Novena to St. Anthony of Padua, ended on June 16 with a concelebrated High Mass. During the mass some fifty Christians in the Parish were awarded certificates of recognition for their contributions in the growth of the Church. These certificates, dubbed PAPAL BLESSING were signed by His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI.

First Published in The Post No 1353

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