The Diocese of Kumbo has held a year-long celebration of her Ruby Jubilee spanning 2021 to 2022. This has culminated in the peak celebration in December of 2022. Mark 16:15 provided the theme of the celebration: Together on Mission: “Go out to the whole world, proclaiming the Gospel to all Creation”.

Time of Thanksgiving

Like any other jubilee, the 40th anniversary of the Diocese of Kumbo is a time to look back in gratitude. This is what stood out at the beginning of the Ruby Jubilee Prayer which was being said within the Diocese, and by children of the Diocese living outside.

The prayer didn’t enumerate many things that ought to have been motives of gratitude – for that would make it an extremely long prayer! But a moment’s pause suffices to realize that there is plenty to thank God for.

The Diocese, which was created by Pope St John Paul II on Thursday, 18 March 1982, has grown in many respects. The Parishes have increased in number. The number of baptisms and other sacraments per annum is growing steadily. Vocations have abounded, and Kumbo Diocese feeds many others with vocations to the Priesthood and the Consecrated Life. The faithful have been convinced and committed to spreading the faith. Diocesan institutions are growing stronger. And in spite of the impact of the crisis since 2016, all parishes have remained functioning. There has been so much to thank God for.

The Gloom of an Avoidable War

Nevertheless, Kumbo Diocese has been celebrating her Ruby Jubilee in very difficult circumstances. There escalated in the North West and South West Regions of Cameroon at the close of 2016 what has come to be known as the Anglophone Crisis. It had become an armed conflict at the time of the jubilee year. This war has changed life for many people for a long while, perhaps, for many generations.

Many communities and families have broken down. Countless people live in anguish after losing loved ones, their sources of livelihood, or their homes. Thousands have fled to other regions or to neighbouring Nigeria to save their lives. Pastoral work has become arduous, and the Church has been caught in between two unkind ‘masters’: the separatist fighters on the one hand, and the state forces of law and order on the other. Pastoral agents have been abducted here and there. This is the atmosphere in which the celebration of the Jubilee has taken place.

But it is in this same atmosphere that the theme of the jubilee takes a deeper meaning. The faithful are called to unity, and to still go out as instruments of God’s message. The message of love and peace, reconciliation and harmony must still be preached and witnessed to, even in these circumstances, and especially in these circumstances. All ought to have the hope that peace is still possible, and that a genuine dialogue that tackles the root causes of the situation is what it takes to resolve the Crisis. Therefore, even in war, “go out to the whole world, proclaiming the Gospel…”.

A Gaze of Hope

The future looks bright, in spite of the prevailing circumstances. Even at great cost, the unrest will not last forever. Things will change. It may take a while, but the characteristic vibrance of the Diocese will return someday.

The Pastoral Zones will become Parishes. Communities will regain their life. The faith will be celebrated without fear. Perhaps, what has been whispered and speculated upon for some years could become a reality, when another Diocese is carved out of Kumbo. For, the Church is always growing; she is always young, but she is also a mother, and is always birthing.

Music for a Jubilee

The musical project ‘TOGETHER ’ is intended to animate and enliven the ruby jubilee celebration in Kumbo Diocese. It is a 6-track body of work. Two of the songs were released during the celebrative year, namely, “Jubilee Prayer”  and “Together”.

As a collection, the work reflects on the theme of the jubilee, provides a celebrative melody, puts the jubilee prayer into song, brings in a psalm of thanksgiving, and includes a popular song from an unknown composer. You can find the entire project HERE

May it be a landmark project that will never be forgotten; for we shall always hear the tunes, and remember the year we celebrated forty!

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