By Joseph Besong
On Sunday September 5,2021 the African Catholic Christians all over the USA came in their numbers for Bishop Jerome Feudjio’s thanksgiving mass. The thanksgiving mass took place at the Saint Camillus Catholic Church Silver Spring-Maryland. The occasion brought together African Catholics, African priests, and African religious sisters. The Holy Mass was beautifully led in songs and dancing, thanks to the African choir located at the Saint Camillus parish in Silver Spring.
During the thanksgiving ceremony, there was a bible procession which was done in a purely African style animated by the Catholic Women Association (CWA) a typical “Ecclesial in Africa”
The beauty of Africa culture was embedded in the Bible procession. The African beatings in songs and drums were echoed.
The highlight of the occasion was during the sermon delivered by the shepherd himself Msgr. Jerome Feudjio who was ordained as the bishop of the Virgin Islands, a territory of the United States of America. Bishop Feudjio didn’t hide how he felt seeing his African Catholic Christians from different parts of the continent. The bishop compared the feeling to that of being in heaven. The chief celebrant told the African Catholics present how fate brought him to the United States. He recalled that he left the seminary in Cameroon because his father died. To him, the only way to help the rest of the family is leave the seminary and work for the betterment of others in the family. He said life was difficult even when he left the seminary there in Cameroon. The brother who at the time was in the US helped to bring the young Feudjio to the District of Columbia. Life was hard and unbearable but according to young Feudjio he held firmed to God. He explained how he drove a taxi as a job in DC to take care of himself. He was so excited to share his story to all those who attended the thanksgiving mass.
He urged all Africans who are in the diaspora to help those back home who need help just as the brother helped brought him to the United States and literally changed his life and the people around him. He gave two lessons that of faith and not giving up even in circumstances that are hopeless. He recommended Jesus as a problem solver. He proudly told all who attended the thanksgiving mass that he is an example of how God can change any situation into perfection. His humility was all over the place. He asked the brother priests from Africa present at the mass to stand. He said there many experienced, intelligent priests from Africa than him but God chose him to represent the Africa Catholics in the United States. He is the first African born priest to be appointed a bishop in the the entire United States. That’s history for the people of Africa and a big inspiration for African immigrants.
After the thanksgiving mass, there was another excited. This time many took pictures with the bishop. It was a day full of joy. Bishop Jerome Feudjio who hails from Dschang -Cameroon is the first African to be appointed as a bishop in the United States. Bishop Feudjio said he has brought two religious’ congregations from Africa to help in alleviating the poor in the Virgin Islands. There are thousands of African priests in the United States of America, Europe, and Asia doing missionary work and others on study leave. It seems as if today there’s reversal of role. Africa is sending more missionaries to the west today. These African priests are the hope for the Churches in developed nations. Many Americans and Europeans doesn’t answer the call to the priesthood and religious life as before. Fortunately, the seminaries in Africa are full and Mother Africa is able to send her sons and daughters to preach and evangelize to the world. Bishop Jerome Feudjio’s story is a true story of God’s goodness to Africa. He will advocate for the Africans in United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.