Bishop Bushu of the Buea Diocese says most priests are forced into the seminary by their parents and not a call to serve 1

The Bishop of the Buea diocese, His Lordship Immanuel Balanga Bushu has revealed that some seminarians who end up as priests are often victims of pressure from parents and not a call to serve. The Roman Catholic Bishop was speaking recently on the side-lines of the 2016 conclave of Bishops in the Bamenda Ecclesiastical Province that held on August 16-19 2016 in Buea, South West region under the chairmanship of the president of Bamenda Episcopal Conference, His Lordship Bishop George Nkuo.

Bishop Immanuel Bushu, observed that the seminary is a nursery for future priests and nothing else. He regretted that most minor seminarians who enroll into the seminary are under the influence of their parents and not necessary their call. The man of God noted that it was neither late nor bad for such candidates to quit the seminary and continue with what life holds for them. “What matters is not the number of candidates but the quality”, he added.

The attendance of rectors of Minor seminarians was glaring and provided a unique opportunity for them to express worries and shortcomings encountered in the molding of would be seminarians and priests. According to Rev Fr Killian Ndukong, Rector of the Kumbo minor seminary, some of the challenges the candidates face in the course of their stay in the seminary includes the scarcity of mentors to follow up the spiritual growth of the candidates which as of now approximately 200 candidates can be entitle to just 3 mentors, he cited.

 Another major difficulty Fr. Ndukong revealed was on the serious and dedicated nature of the candidates. Here, he explained that getting proper candidates into the Minor Seminary is challenging as most come and portray a different image of what they think about priesthood which is unholy. Father Ndukong added that some parents say the enrollment fees are huge and not affordable. But Rev. Father Ndukong stressed that it takes sacrifice to mold and build a religious mind to be able to transform the world. He however emphasized that only Catholic Christians who are baptized and have received the sacrament of first Holy Communion are eligible to be seminarians. Interested candidates can gain admission upon the recommendation of the Bishop during which they are taught the Catholic Doctrine and administered the sacrament of baptism.

The president of the Bamenda Episcopal Conference, Bishop George Nkuo of Kumbo, explained in a soul-searching address  that  “all the five bishops of the ecclesiastical province of Bamenda, have come together to review our pastoral life, we began with reports from the council of education with all education secretaries and financial secretaries and all our collaborators in education. We reviewed the academic year that just finished and to plan and prepare for the new academic year. Within the week we had meetings on our houses of formation, the seminaries, Minor and Major seminaries. We equally had the opportunity to look at other aspects, the different commissions that are functioning at the provincial level. We have various commissions including health, education, social welfare, justice and peace. We also give instructions and directives on how the Church should operate in the years to come,” he added.

The meeting was attended by several Catholic priests and Bishops of the Ecclesiastical Province of Bamenda, Father Marcel Sang the rector of the Minor Seminary in Mamfe, Father Killian Ndukong the rector of the Minor seminary in Kumbo and Father Isaac Alnuchem the rector of Bishop Rogan College Buea.

By Cham Victor Bama