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Wills May Become Requirement For Christian Burial 

By Willibroad B. Nformi

CameroonPostline.com — The presentation of wills of deceased Christian faithful of Roman Catholic Church may henceforth be required prior to burial. The Vicar-General of the Diocese of Kumbo and Parish Priest of the Immaculate Conception Parish Tobin, Kumbo Bui Division Saturday, August 4, mooted this apparent “pontifical” decree.

Rev. Fr. Roland Berngeh flanked by three priests at a funeral mass for the repose of the soul of Stephen Shey Wirsiy Lukong, former Deputy Mayor of the then Kumbo Urban Council, said the church was continuously getting embarrassed with conflicts arising from burials concerning Christians who are title-holders. Fr. Berngeh said fairly recently, a scuffle arose over who to bury a Christian of the Tobin Church who was also a prominent member of one of the Nso Palace societies. Both Christians and traditionalists went into a duel over the Christian’s corpse.

Fr. Roland said in a bid to avoid such embarrassments, priests should henceforth ensure that Christians who are title-holders should present wills indicating to whom they pay allegiance either to the church or to tradition. After his pronouncement, a Christian title-holder who sat by this reporter, retorted “That is lie, that cannot work here in Nsoland”.

This position was reechoed by many people of Nso extraction maintaining that even palace jujus do perform at funerals of priests. They quoted in support of their assertion a radio announcement carried in a local radio station whereby a parish priest in Mbiame had organised a traditional death celebration for the pioneer parish priest of that parish who recently died in his home town in Europe.

Supporters of the traditional celebration said the Bible was clear on the issue when it said “give to God what belongs to God and to Caesar, Caesar’s”. Meanwhile, in his homily drawn from the Gospel of St. John, Fr. Roland Berngeh said, from baptism, a Christian has no private life as his life belongs to Christ.

He said Christian funerals are prayers of intercession intended to call on God to have mercy on the departed soul. It should be noted that, despite their apparent Christian fidelity, the Nso people have an unexplained attachment to their traditional institutions. Stephen Shey Wirsiy Lukong, who died at the age of 79, was a teacher and politician who later became Deputy Mayor.

According to his son, Dr. Alban Bongwong Lukong, lecturer at the University of Yaounde II, the calm and silent manner in which his father departed signified his satisfaction that he had achieved what he could in this world. “We knew you would leave us one day, but to think that it was going to be sudden is what we find hard to take. You were one known to the world as the administrator and politician, but we were so lucky to be the ones to know you as a father,” Alban Lukong eulogized.

First published in The Post print edition No. 1365

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