In 2018, a dark cloud came over Mill Hill Missionaries working in Cameroon. It was the murder of a young priest, Fr Cosmas Ondari Omboto, a Mill Hill Missionary from Kenya working in St Martin of Tours parish Kembong in the Catholic Diocese of Mamfe in Cameroon.
This murder was a result of a crisis that erupted in the English-speaking areas of Cameroon in 2016, now known as the Cameroon anglophone crisis. As a result many people in Kembong fled for fear of the unknown. The village and parish remained deserted.
Even after losing his colleague, Fr Tiberius Vuni, MHM, a Mill Miller from Uganda, stayed in the diocese to continue giving hope to his parishioners who needed him most in those challenging moments. When I visited Fr Tiberius in January 2021 during my home leave, I was touched by the situation in his parish. I asked him. “must you remain here?” and his answer was, “yes, because the people I was sent to serve are still here.” I felt encouraged by such zeal for mission.
As the Church in Cameroon prepares to celebrate 100 years of love and service by Mill Hill Missionaries in Cameroon, the Mill Hill General Superior Fr Michael Corcoran, on the 8th and 9th of November, visited St Martin of Tours’ parish Kembong where Fr Tiberius and now assisted by Fr Elvis Suh, and Bernard, a student on mission experience, continue to bring the joy of the gospel to their people.
In a holy mass presided over by the General superior, he thanked the Christian community in these words “as we prepare to celebrate 100 years of evangelization in Cameroon. We are not only thinking about those missionaries who left their countries and came, but we thank God for and celebrate you, the people who received the missionaries, and continue to celebrate the faith. It is faith that brings us together. So let us continue to be a centenary people, celebrating the faith, not only in our chapels but wherever we find ourselves.”
Alexander Kimbi MHM