Wednesday, 13 September 2006


Taken from The Post (Buea)
September 12, 2006Posted to the web September 12, 2006
By Charly Ndi Chia, Chris Mbunwe & Willibroad Nformi

The news of the elevation to Bishopric office of Rev. George Nkuo was broken on Saturday, July 8, 2006. Three days later, on Tuesday, July 11, the Bishop-elect paid a contact visit to the Kumbo Diocese.
Then, the "informal crowd" that got wind of the news that their new Sheppard was "sneaking" into town, lined the streets and welcomed him to where he would soon take up jurisdictional charge.
Friday, September 8, 2006, was apparently Rev. Father George's greatest day of glory so far. Bishops and Archbishops from all the Ecclesiastical Provinces of Cameroon, over 200 Priests, Catholic Christians and other well wishers headed for Kumbo, to be witnesses to the Episcopal Ordination proper.
They numbered several tens of thousands. The ordination rite was systematic, deliberate and generally solemn. There was, for example, the presentation of the Bishop-elect, after which he made promises; two Deacons, whose angelic voices and total articulation and synchrony created graveyard silence while it lasted, sang the Litany of Supplication in Latin.
Then followed the laying on of hands, anointing the head of the one being ordained and presenting him with the book of gospels. The rite of ordination was formally done, after the Bishop-elect was invested with Ring, Mitre and Pastoral Staff, through to the seating of the Bishop and the Kiss of Peace.
Christian Cardinal Wiyghan Tumi as the Principal Ordaining Bishop, conducted the exercise, assisted by the Archbishops of Bamenda, and Yaounde respectively.
His Eminence, Cardinal Tumi's homily, sounded much like the challenges of Bishopric office and how the new Bishop was to best live with and handle such challenges.
It was vintage Cardinal Tumi, thundering, admonishing the newly consecrated Bishop to be courageous, else he would be a disaster to his Christians and the Church. Hear him:
"As a Bishop, be not afraid of anybody when you proclaim the truth, for the truth shall set you free. Remember, lack of courage in a Bishop is the beginning of disaster. The greatest weakness in an Apostle is fear.
"What gives rise to fear is lack of confidence in the power of God. Silence in the presence of enemies encourages them. Don't even be afraid of those who will kill you. If you are afraid as a Bishop, then you are weak. Preach the truth and only the truth. Here, there is no room for compromise, or for an opportunistic recourse to human diplomacy.
"We have to bear witness to the truth even at the cause of persecution, even to the shedding of our blood as Christ did Himself, to save the world. George, be a courageous man of faith. Do not be afraid of those who can kill the body, but cannot kill the soul."
The Cardinal told Bishop Nkuo to devote most of his time and attention to the formation of quality Priests, especially on their spiritual lives, adding for effect, that he should be very careful not to lay hands too readily on anyone as a Priest.
He equally appealed to the Priests to be disciplined and to collaborate with the new Bishop. The Cardinal said for the sake of the Church, Bishop Nkuo should love his Priests, listen to them, as well as the laity and other religious." No Priests, no Church", he warned.

How to Fight Stress

Hinting further that the challenges ahead of the new Bishop would be enormous, the Principal Ordaining Bishop admonished Monsignor Nkuo to use the special gift God has given him, which he said was that of smiling, even during difficult moments.
Comparing the new Bishop to his predecessor, Archbishop Cornelius Fontem Esua, Tumi was categorical. "Fontem is a specialist in the scriptures, and you are a specialist in education; a seasoned educationist.
His ways are not your ways. You will never be a founding Bishop like Cornelius, but you will be a builder like him. Be who you are, accept what you are. You are God's gift to yourself. So thank God for what you are". He added:"Dear George, love your Priests and share the pastoral concerns of each and everyone of them.
Back to the special gift of smiling, Tumi noted:"George, you have the gift of smiling in difficulties. You always have a smiling face even when you are angry. Some say your greatest weakness is that it will take you a lifetime to learn how to be seriously annoyed with someone who has seriously annoyed you.
That is a gift; make the best of it in your relationship with your Priests and religious to whom they should have the opportunity to confide in you". He was reminded that he was not made Bishop because he is holier than any other Priest.
While noting that to be a Bishop is a mystery, Cardinal Tumi said it took the Church quite some time to arrive at the decision of making the choice that fell on Nkuo. "We are not Bishops because we are holier than others, but for reasons best known to God alone". To be a successor of the Apostle is a mystery and great honour", he said.

No Tribalism

Qualifying the appointment as a great honour from the Holy See to George and the entire Kom people from where he hails, Tumi said Bishop Nkuo's maiden visit to Kumbo after that appointment in July, could be likened to Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem.
Lying prostrate during the litany of Supplication
In order to promote pastoral care of the Christians and lay faithful, Bishop Nkuo was told to fling the doors of the Bishop's house in Kumbo wide open to all. "Let everyone have direct access to the Bishop's house. He is a father to all, including those who are not Catholic Christians."

New Bishop's Tribute
Bishop Nkuo paid tribute to Pope Benedict XVI, who appointed him. To his collaborators, Bishops, Priests, Reverend Sisters and all who witnessed and supported the ordination, he said he could only offer love. He promised to work hard to consolidate what his predecessor, His Grace, Cornelius Fontem Esua started, especially the implementation of the Pastoral Plan.
Moved by the thousands that made it to Kumbo for the event, Bishop Nkuo said he believes that it takes a whole nation to raise a Bishop. He said he was particularly happy because Cardinal Tumi, who taught him in the first form in Bishop Rogan College, performed the consecration rites.
He was appreciative to Bishop Esua, for entrusting to his care a flourishing and vibrant Church."This is a formidable and special legacy Archbishop Esua has left for me", he said. He promised that together with the Diocesan Christians, he would build and transform the Church in Kumbo.
"I will collaborate with the Muslims and other churches and everyone who has good ideas. For you, I am a Bishop, with you, I am a Christian".Bishop Nkuo said he had special regards to youths and teachers, being those he has spent more than 25 years working with as a Priest.
The founding Bishop of Kumbo, His Grace Esua said during his 24 years as Pastor of Diocese, he discovered dignity, diligence and high spiritual growth in the Christians of the area. "The flock of Kumbo is God-fearing and hardworking.
You can count on their support, though they can be so demanding at times. Which ties with the saying that what can be so sweet in the mouth, can equally be very bitter in the stomach". He apologized for any of his shortcomings.

Bishop Esua then introduced a six-man delegation from the Diocese of Limberg in Germany that has contributed immensely to the growth of Kumbo Diocese. "As I leave Kumbo for Bamenda, I leave behind my heart with you", he promised.

Cheque From Kom Fon

One of the highlights of the occasion was the presentation of a cheque of FCFA 5 million by HRH Fon Vincent Yuh I, Paramount Ruler of Kom in Boyo Division. In a terse message that was translated by Professor Paul Nchoji Nkwi, the Fon hailed the Pope for making him (Fon) proud.
"This is an initial support to Bishop Nkuo, a modest gift of FCFA 5 million from the Kom people."We have offered Nkuo to the Church as Abraham offered his son without looking back".
It was bright, favourable weather in Kumbo throughout the event that effectively lasted some five hours. The skies only started weeping, rather heavily, about an hour after the last of the souvenir photographs with the new Kumbo Bishop had been taken.

Photos: Courtesy of Livinus Bam, PCC Kumbo.


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