3 August 2017

Cameroon: Catholics Celebrate Bishop Bala's Life

Photo: DW/Boniphace
Late Bishop Bala's funeral

The nature of the corpse removal and Pontifical Mass yesterday ahead of today's burial depicted the fall of a great man.

As His Lordship Jean-Marie Benoît Bala, Bishop of the Bafia Diocese ends his stay on earth today, history will retain that the prelate was indeed a man of the people. The splendour of his corpse removal yesterday August 2, 2017 at the Mortuary of the Yaounde General Hospital to an over two-hour Pontifical Mass at the Our Lady of Victory Cathedral in downtown Yaounde was, to say the least, hectic. The attendance was huge and the grief on the faces of especially Catholic faithful telling of the pain in losing a Man of God of Jean-Marie Benoît Bala's calibre. Even before 10 am that the corpse removal ceremony was billed, the hall at the mortuary and even the courtyard were already filled will mourners who turned up to accompany the prelate on his last journey. The arrival of the Head of State's representative, Laurent Esso, Minister of State, Minister for Justice and Keeper of the Seals completely set the stage for the emotion-packed ceremony. Singing and wailing ushered out the mortal remains of the fallen prelate from the inner chambers of the mortuary into the already filled hall. Prayers and songs that interspersed the short but emotional requiem mass, assured scores of bishops, catholic Christians and Cabinet Ministers who massively turned up for the corpse removal that there is life after death. They both prayed God to pardon the fallen priest where he went wrong while living, give his soul a peaceful repose so that "he resurrects with Christ on the last day." The mourners prayed for strength in such difficult moments, pledging their unshaking faith in God no matter what and requesting the Almighty to grant eternal life to the departed clergy. The emotion that characterised the requiem mass got to its peak at the Cathedral when the casket bearing the mortal remains of His Lordship Jean-Marie Benoît Bala was escorted into the sanctuary. Thousands of Christians who had taken up vantage positions hours before the corpse removal gave the fallen Man of God a standing ovation with some singing and waving while others wailed on the tragic demise of the prelate. The Pontifical Mass officiated by the Apostolic Nuncio to Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea, Pierro Pippo was indeed a celebration of the life of Jean-Marie Benoît Bala. In a breath-taking homily titled, "My Grace is Sufficient For You," Joseph Akonga Essomba of the Essos Catholic Church and childhood friend of His Lordship Jean-Marie Benoît Bala admonished mourners to trust and obey God for there is life after death for a believer. He qualified the fallen Bishop as one who showed proof of divine calling and faithfully served God's church throughout his priesthood. He said the late clergy was a veritable diplomat and negotiator who sacrificed pleasure to render service to mankind. Wondering over the tragic passing on of His Lordship Jean-Marie Benoît Bala, the preacher assured mourners that the Church of God will remain strong as "nothing can battle with the Lord." The indefatigable worker in God's vineyard, as he chose to liken the departed clergy, will be buried today August 3, 2017 in Bafia, Mbam et Inoubuo Division of the Centre Region.

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