By Jude Abanseka
Christ's faithful converged on Christ the King Quasi Parish, Mbengwi, on Saturday, March 5, 2011, to witness the priestly ordination of Rev. Innocent Akum Wefon, the sixth Cameroonian to join St. Joseph Missionary Society, and the second parish Christian and first Ashong son to be ordained priest.
He reminded priests their pastoral work must be blended to include their parishes' social-economic development, and working to promote justice and peace and integral human development as Jesus exemplified. The Archbishop said as primary evangelisation agents, priests should focus their attention on the poor, sick, the marginalised and the suffering. He hinted Rev. Innocent Wefon should start working from these guidelines. In his exhortation, His Grace Esua said priesthood is neither a safe haven from the hassles of human life, nor an automatic gateway to righteousness.
After the concluding prayer, the newly ordained Priest organised a fund raiser as his contribution to help construct Mbengwi Quasi Parish presbytery. A Presbyterian Church delegation and Christians from other denominations attended the event and supported the project; a mark of inter-denominational cooperation.
Addressing the congregation, the Parish Pastoral Council Chairman noted that Rev. Fr. Innocent Akum was the second son from the parish to join the priesthood after Rev. Fr. John Musi, a Jesuit ordained since 1977. He said in just two years eight months, when the Quasi Parish was erected, its blessing cannot be measured. Christ the King Quasi Parish, Mbengwi, was since 1969, a Mission Station under Our of Lourdes Parish, Njindom, until June 13, 2008.
Speaking on the family's behalf, Fr. Innocent's eldest brother thanked those present for joining them in thanksgiving. He pledged continuous support to construct the parish presbytery. On his part, the Resident Mill Hill Missionaries Superior in Cameroon, Rev. Fr. Andrew Nkoulou noted it was a harvest time for the Missionary Society of St. Joseph.
He said those aspiring to join the society in Cameroon take courses in Philosophy at St. Thomas Aquinas Major Seminary Bambui for 3 years before proceeding to Nairobi-Kenya for Theological studies. He cautioned Fr. Innocent Akum against thinking ordination had given him the green light to dominate Christians. He added it was instead a call to humble service. Students of St. Joseph College Mbengwi and the parish choir animated the Liturgy.
Rev. Fr. Innocent Akum Wefon was born on March 19, 1981 in Mbengwi. He hails from Ashong, Batibo, a place with few priestly vocation. He started his primary education in Government Bilingual Primary School, Fumban and later moved to Government Bilingual High School Mbengwi for his secondary education. In 1999 he moved to CCAST Bambili, where he did his high school studies.
After attending several vocation camps and contacting the Mill Hill Vocation Director at the time, Fr. Gerald Doyle, he finally started basic formation in Bamenda, Cameroon in 2001 after he obtained the GCE Advanced Level Certificate. He did a three-year Philosophy course in Jinja-Uganda. On May 1, 2005, he took the Temporary Oath.
That same year, he began studies in Theology in Nairobi. After a year he was sent on a missionary experience to Karimoja-Uganda, where he spent two years in Panyangara Parish. In Panyangara the Karimojong named him Apalosil, which is a peaceful bull with two distinct colours because he worked with warriors, helping them to stop raiding for cattle.
In August 2008 he returned to Nairobi to complete studies in Theology. He became a perpetual Mill Hill Society member on March 20, 2010 and was ordained deacon on August 28, 2010. He has been posted to Milindi Diocese, Kenya, which is predominantly Moslem.
Talking to L'Effort Camerounais the Mill Hill Missionary Society Representative in Cameroon, Rev Fr.Andrew Nkoulou, said Rev. Fr. Innocent Akum's ordination has brought to 6 the number of Cameroonians serving as Mill Hill Missionaries. Two are serving in Sudan, two in South Africa, one in Kenya and another in Uganda. This comes 16 years after the Mill Hill Novitiate Home was opened in Nkwen-Bamenda.