Mission to Cameroon

A new feature

For this second year of our visit to Cameroon, we were happy to meet again those we had met last year and to participate this summer in the life of the CANA Fraternity. The CANA Week which took place in Melong (halfway between Douala and Bafoussam) in a center run by the Franciscans, was preceded by two days of formation for the fraternity leaders. And for the first time, a CANA Fraternal Life Week took place in parallel to the CANA Week at another site nearby, Nkongsamba, in a house run by the Sisters of the Sacred Heart, a quarter of an hour from Melong. It was new not to be together on the same site but it also allowed us to live each of these retreats to the fullest! At the end of the week, all the participants of the CANA Week and the CANA Fraternal Life Week (a total of 113 people), gathered for the final mass and for the starting of the CANA Fraternity for the year 2022-2023 by Marcus and Sostenne TEUGNOUA, national leaders.

The context

Cameroon, like many countries, has been impacted by the war in Ukraine and faced with rising prices which, in the wake of the pandemic, immediately impacted the economic situation. Life is difficult today, families are struggling to enroll because of financial difficulties and some are having trouble getting time off on the right dates.

The formation of fraternity leaders

These 2 days were an inspired novelty, allowing the servants of the weeks to come to prepare and to create their unity (in total, 11 couples as well as the national team CANA of Cameroon). An important moment to get to know each other as they come from different districts, feedback on the CANA International Meeting in June in Rome, teachings on the fundamentals of CANA, times for relaxation, prayer, sharing…

CANA Week in Melong

The Franciscan house welcomed 10 participating couples, 15 couples at the service as well as the 11 children under 10 years old. Father Eric TCHOUANI, episcopal delegate for family ministry in the diocese, participated in the whole week and his presence was very much appreciated. A couple from the Central African Republic who also participated in the week, sent by the Jesuits, would like to come back next year with their children and with other couples. What a joy it was also to celebrate a religious wedding during the week!

CANA Fraternal Life Week in Nkongsamba

This week was facilitated thanks to a good team from the CANA Fraternity. A priest of the Sacred Heart of Nkonsamba and a religious sister, Marie-Thérèse AYOKOO, responsible for pastoral work in the diocese, joined them. The 8 participating couples (almost all of them being fraternity leaders) were able to experience a personal growth as a couple (cf. testimony), and to enjoy fellowship. There were many moments during the week which were very powerful for their couple.

A group of children from 10 to 17 years old (the younger ones stayed at the Melong site) had their own program in parallel during the week. Every morning, we attended mass together; they were in charge of leading the singing. On the last evening, several parents discovered the talents of their children on this occasion! They expressed the wish to meet again two or three times during the year to continue the journey started… The service of the children was the object of a renewed attention, with 5 persons at the service and a good preparation beforehand by Céline, member of the national team.

A real formation program was offered to the servants. The Martha and Mary program, animated by Yves and Evelyne MBELLA, has borne fruit in terms of formation and fraternal life, with times of personal prayer, times as a couple, in fraternity and basic formation.

The year to come

The calendar for the coming year is being set up. Out-reach by the CANA network is taking shape: some have organized a CANA Sunday in their parish. In Djombé, they wish to propose an “open weekend” on site and invite more people to attend. Following the five CANA Welcome groups that took place this year, other parishes will be solicited in the fall. In Bafoussam, with regard to the two CANA Parents’ programs that have already started, a year of accompaniment is envisaged so that the couples continue to be formed, so that they get to know CANA better and in particular be able to participate in the next CANA Week. Next year, the CANA Spiritual Retreat will be offered, probably on a different date than the CANA Week in order to be able to welcome more people.

Witnesses to the action of the Holy Spirit

With great joy, we are witnessing the action of the Holy Spirit in the CANA mission in Cameroon and we pray along all these committed and dynamic brothers and sisters!

Anne-Marie & Bruno COUTELLIER