31, December 2019
Christians of the Cameroon Catholic Community of Boston, gathered in their numbers to celebrate with Sister Agnes Njume on the occasion of her fortieth anniversary as a professed religious with the Sisters of Saint Therese of Buea on Sunday December 28, 2019, Feast of the Holy Family at St. Anne’s Parish Salem of the Archdiocese of Boston.Equally in attendance, were several religious, former students of Sister Agnes, the Alumni of her High School, her family, friends and the Bakossi Community of New England.
The Anniversary Mass which started at 1pm ET was presided by Bishop Arthur Kennedy PhD, Auxiliary Bishop of Boston. The Entrance Procession was beautifully led the CWA of Boston, nicely clad in their CWA Uniform. Sister Agnes Njume is an alumnus of Queen of the Rosary College Okoyong and is an active member of their alumni association known by the acronym OPSA. OPSA New England led the Lectionary Procession. In his homily, which lasted 12 minutes, Bishop Kennedy commended Sister Agnes Njume for the role she played in nurturing young girls in Cameroon and preparing them to lead families which are God fearing following the example of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph.
Bishop Kennedy forcefully denounced the German philosopher, Karl Marx’s book, The Holy Family, published in 1884, which was a scathing attack on Christianity and on the person of Jesus, and mocked everything which the Holy Family of Nazareth stood for. Of course, under Marxist philosophy, everything is guided by economics and politics and the state controlled absolutely everything. Basically, the book promoted distrust within the family, with parents not trusting children and vice versa. Consequently, the family itself could not be trusted. Sister Agnes Njume, throughout her forty years of dedicated, committed and passionate service, fought against the ills promoted by a Marxist cultural attack on the family which completely undermines Christian doctrine. Sister Agnes has been a champion for the family, a champion for the poor and a champion for the girl child. Consequently, it was providential that herFortieth Anniversary celebration as a Religious took place when the Holy Mother Church was celebrating the Feast of Holy Family.
After the Profession of Faith, Sister Agnes Njume once more as she did forty years ago and as she has done several times within the past forty years, while kneeling at the foot of sanctuary, solemnly, passionately and joyfully renewed her religious vows of celibate chastity, poverty and obedience in front of Bishop Kennedy. At the end, the assembly applauded her with joy and the famous Bakossionsoonsoonso was chanted.
During the offertory, after the first collection, Sister Agnes Njume and the other women religious present, led the offertory procession with beautiful liturgical dances accompanied by popular songs in the Bakossi language (Akosse). The entire assembly stood up and danced with their monetary gifts to thank God for the gift of Sister Agnes Njume to the church. After the Prayer After Communion, Fr. Maurice Ashley Agbaw-Ebai, Pastor of the St. Anne Parish thanked all for coming and presented to the assembly, the many religious who had turned out for the beautiful liturgy to pray and celebrate with Sister Agnes Njume. He was also very appreciative of Bishop Kennedy who willingly accepted to preside over the Mass and persevered with a long Cameroonian Liturgy. In response, Bishop Kennedy expressed his joy to celebrate for the first time with the Cameroonian Catholic community in Massachusetts and in particular with Sister Agnes Njume who had done a lot to promote Christian values and teach not only by words but by the example of her life following the example of St Therese of the Child Jesus. Bishop Kennedy gave the final blessing and the Mass ended at 2:50pm ET. After Mass, groups and individuals took various photographs to immortalize the event.
By 3:30pm, all had gathered in the Parish Hall for the Reception. Sister Agnes Njume thanked God for having chosen her, though unworthy to consecrate her entire life to the service of God and God’s people. She was immensely grateful to her parents especially her dad who initially introduced her to the idea of being a woman religious. She rendered her sincere thanks to all who have supported her in her formation and throughout her life as a religious and now as a Graduate Theology Student at Boston College especially the wonderful Cameroonian community in Massachusetts. She thanked all dearly for coming especially those who had travelled from various states within the United States of America to celebrate with her and more importantly, to pray with and for her. She was particularly grateful to Rev. Maurice Ashley Agbaw-Ebai, who she described as a son, for having made this celebration possible. She was very appreciative of the organizing committee for their sacrifices. From the remarks made by her friends, colleagues, former students and those who had had a personal encounter with Sister Agnes Njume, the following characteristics of her life stood out, which not only young religious can emulate, but all those who come in contact with Sister Agnes Njume: her self-less service, her commitment, her unparalleled dedication, her straightforwardness, her prayer life and most importantly her sincere love for God and God’s people.
A cake was prepared in her honor which she cut. There was much merry making by all. By 6pm ET the celebration came to an end.
By Anselm Ndumbe)