By Sr. Priscilla Yein Wulaiwimia
“We must go beyond all barriers”, Bishop Dennis Kofi Agbenyadzi SMA, of the Diocese of Berberati , Central African Republic, told our Muslim brothers at the Kumbo Central Mosque on Friday 18 March, 2014. The young, zealous and dynamic prelate, who is barely two years a Bishop, stands tall in the heart of the crisis in Central Africa. He has been described by many as an icon of peace, unity and reconciliation. The main objective of his visit to Kumbo was to reciprocate the solidarity of the Catholic Church and the people of Kumbo towards Central African Republic (CAR) during the crisis.
Coincidentally, he arrived Kumbo on the day the Muslim Community had planned to handover their own quota for support of CAR refugees to the Tertiary Sisters of St. Francis (TSSF). He grasped the opportunity and went to commune with the Muslims, accompanied by Mgr. George Nkuo, the Bishop of Kumbo, Fr. Joe Lukong, the Canon of Kumbo Cathedral and a host of Tertiary Sisters of St. Francis. During his sermon, the Imam called for forgiveness, love, peace and acceptance of other religions.
Mgr. Dennis, the Courageous missionary, whose driver is a Muslim, refutes the claim that the CAR Crisis is a religious war as presented by the International media. He asserts that those causing all the atrocities cannot tell you why they are fighting when the rebels had long gone. The youth who are mostly school dropouts are just being politically manipulated to use the situation for looting. “If that were the case, I would not have hosted over 4,000 Muslims in my house”, declares the Bishop.
From his radiating joyful and determinant countenance, it is evident that Mgr. Dennis has given the crisis in the CAR, a pastoral dimension by looking to the future with ardent hope. He admonished the Christians of Tobin Parish in the following words, “in the chaos of life, God brings new things. So, never give up, live the present moment, try to go beyond the physical and see the image of God in his creatures. Above all, never allow yourselves to be manipulated because once war begins, it is hard to end”. It is no doubt that he sees the Muslim children born in his compound and named ‘Monsignor’ as a sign of life.
He expressed deep appreciation to the people of Kumbo and elsewhere for the prayers and generosity demonstrated towards CAR. He added that we never know we need other until we find ourselves in situations like the one currently experienced in CAR. Bishop George confirmed it by underlining that, the gesture was only the beginning of greater collaboration. The Grand Imam simply declared that this collaboration was long overdue and saw the coming together as a positive outcome of the war. Finally, Bishop Dennis, thanked and encouraged the Media in Kumbo for their hard work and sincerity.
He left Kumbo with fond memories of a hospitable people. Above all, he cherished the blessings of the mother of Cardinal Tumi’s who referred to him as ‘baby bishop’. He went along with part of the second consignment of gifts and food items donated. He invites all to continue to pray for CAR and also to endeavor to visit them in future.
More Pictures here:
Sr. Priscilla Yein Wulaiwimia
P.O Box 8, Kumbo
North West Region