My Brothers and Sisters,
The peace of the Lord be with you.
I am happy to write to you about the 50th anniversary of the existence of ‘Cameroon Panorama”, which we look forward to celebrating next year. The first edition of “Cameroon Panorama” was published forty-nine years ago. From that year till date, the publications have been very regular, and the latest is no. 645. It is indeed a great achievement that the production teams of “Cameroon Panorama” have been able to sustain the monthly publications without any interruption throughout this period.
“Cameroon Panorama” was founded in 1962 by Rev. Fr. Bernard Stukart of blessed memory. He was a priest of the St. Joseph Mill Hill Missionary Society, who equally served as its pioneer editor. In the beginning, it was called Catholic Information Bulletin (CIB), while the printing centre, based in Fiango Kumba at the time, was known as the Catholic Information Service (CIS). It was moved a year later to the Bishop’s House, Small Soppo, Buea, then to Buea Station where it is presently located. It is now known as the Catholic Communication Service - CACOS.
The “Catholic Information Bulletin” was started to serve as a tool for evangelisation and dissemination of information in the former West Cameroon. However, with growing interest and steady increase in the number of readers, copies were also distributed in East Cameroon and some parts of Africa and the rest of the world.
Sometime later, the name Catholic Information Bulletin was found inappropriate because it gave the impression of being an exclusively catholic product. But the reality was different because the magazine was open and relevant to everyone irrespective of religion, tribe, race and nation. Thus in 1969, the name was changed from “Catholic Information Bulletin” to “Cameroon Panorama”. For a long time, this magazine comprised of a few leafs, entirely in black and white print.
2. Faithful to its mission of Evangelisation
Since its creation in 1962, “Cameroon Panorama” has been faithful to its mission as a tool of social communication through the publication of educative and enriching articles as well as in the dissemination of information. First of all, the magazine has had an unbroken chain of devoted editors like Fr. Pius Awa (now Bishop emeritus of Buea), Fr. Paul Verdzekov, the late Archbishop emeritus of Bamenda, Mgr. Lucas Atang, Fr. Louis Nomi (RIP), Sr. Mercy Horgan of the Holy Rosary (RIP), Rev. Fr. John Kubuo (RIP) and Rev. Fr Moses Tazoh. The survival of “Cameroon Panorama” to this day is the fruit of sacrifices made by these people and their collaborators.
At the time this paper was founded, very few magazines existed and survived in Cameroon. Many of the weeklies that are available now, were not there. However “Cameroon Panorama” continued to distinguish itself in its rich contents, accurate and balancedpresentation of national and ecclesiastical events. That is why it won the admiration of many people at home and abroad. This also explains why “Cameroon Panorama” received an award last year as the Longest Serving and Consistent magazine in Cameroon.
Over the years, “Cameroon Panorama” has strived to maintain its standard through relevant articles on a wide range of issues; faith matters, social concerns, human development, politics, health and of human interest. This has always been of great benefit to Continue on Pg. 3
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many readers who often share testimonies of how they have been edified in one way or the other by reading “Cameroon Panorama”
Today, “Cameroon Panorama” has greatly evolved with an increase in the copies that are circulated. Apart from its colourful outlook, there is much improvement in its contents with the introduction of new columns that continue to capture the interest of readers. “Cameroon Panorama” can now boast of several thousand readers in our country and the world.
3. Preparations for the Golden Jubilee
In order to give “Cameroon Panorama” a befitting 50th anniversary celebration, there is need for worthy preparations. Planning meetings have already been held to see to the activities that will be organised leading up to the grand celebration next year.
First of all, I wish to ask everyone to pray for the success of the celebrations, the continuous progress of the magazine and the printing press, where this magazine is designed and produced. Prayer cards to this effect will be made available to individuals and communities.
The organising team shall ensure the regular publication of materials to educate the public about “Cameroon Panorama” and its role in the intellectual, moral, theological, social and spiritual growth of every person. There shall be round table discussions, talk shows, quizzes, open door events with exhibitions and other activities that will eventually culminate in the grand celebration next year, 2012.
4. An Appeal
As we look forward to celebrating the Golden Jubilee of “Cameroon Panorama”, it is very important to look at the base, (which is the printing press) where this magazine is designed, produced, and distributed. Even though we have recounted some of the successes recorded so far by “Cameroon Panorama”, much still needs to be done for its sustainability and to give it wider reach. This can only be achieved through innovations which include the training of personnel for effective management, and the acquisition of the best printing facilities we can.
In order to meet the expectations of today’s readers, there is need for qualified staff in the area of print media and production techniques. This will not only curb the error margin, but it will equally bring about effective management and efficiency. Once such a system is in place, we can be sure of the proper care and responsible management of the latest printing facilities which we still need to acquire. This falls in line with the Christian vision of development as defined by Pope Paul VI in his Encyclical letter “Populorum Progressio”: “Development cannot be limited to mere economic growth…it must be complete: it has to promote the good of every human person and of the whole human person”
In this way, our Catholic Communication Service of the Diocese of Buea will be able to expand by itself the various services such as marketing, advertising and graphic designing. It will also be able to establish and sustain offices in the Archdiocese of Bamenda and the dioceses of Kumbo and Mamfe; given that “Cameroon Panorama” is under the auspices of the Bishops of the Ecclesiastical Province of Bamenda.
This golden jubilee project cannot be realized without the spiritual, moral, and material support of our Christian communities, men and women of goodwill, friends, and well wishers. This upgrading of our press is estimated to cost over 25 million francs.
For this purpose, a fund raising sub-committee of the jubilee project has been set up. They will organise fund raising activities at various times and communities to enable us realise our goal. The main purpose of all this is to ensure that despite the rising cost of printing materials, our communication service should always keep “Cameroon Panorama” at an affordable price, and should be able to subsidise the printing cost in case the need arises.
5. Thank You
The survival and success of “Cameroon Panorama” throughout these years and especially the increase in sales is the fruit of cooperation on the part of the production team, Christian communities, vendors and our regular readers and subscribers. I sincerely thank everyone who contributes in one way or the other to promote the circulation of this veritable tool of evangelisation and the social teaching of the Church.
I wish also to use this opportunity to thank and congratulate all the parishes that distinguished themselves in the last “Panorama Award”. These include Sacred Heart Parish Fiango, All Saints parish Bayelle, St. Claire Parish, Fontem, and St. Joseph Parish, Djottin. I also thank all the sales people in the other regions of the country. To these parishes I say, keep up the zeal and strive to do even better for the glory of God and the spread of His word everywhere.
May I also use this occasion to encourage all the other parishes and communities to work hard to improve their sales, keeping in mind that every time we contribute to the spread of this magazine, we are fulfilling Christ’s command in our own little way: “Go out to the whole world and proclaim the Good News to all creation” (Mk 16:15).
May St. Francis de Sales, patron of communicators intercede for us.
Done on this 27th Day of August, in the year of the Lord, 2011, Memoria of St. Monica.
Yours sincerely in Christ,
- His Grace Cornelius F. Esua, Archbishop of Bamenda
- His Lordship George Nkuo, Bishop of Kumbo
- His Lordship Francis T. Lysinge, Bishop of Mamfe
- His Lordship Agapitus Nfon, Auxiliary Bishop of Bamenda