Bishop Michael Bibi visits the Diocese for Bamenda Sunday
6th November 2017
Bishop Michael Bibi, Auxiliary Bishop of Bamenda, our Twin Diocese, spent a few days in the Diocese in the run up to Bamenda Sunday, 5th November. Our Diocese has been ‘twinned’ with Bamenda for over forty years.
He first paid a visit to Corpus Christi, Wokingham where he celebrated Mass with Fr David O’Sullivan on both the Feast day of All Saints and on All Souls Day.
Corpus Christi parish have said that it was wonderful to welcome him to their parish and how he enjoyed celebrating the All Saints Mass with the children of St Teresa’s School and meeting them afterwards.
On Friday 3rd November, Bishop Michael made his first visit to Jersey, accompanied by Fr Bernadine Nsom, a Bamendan Priest who is currently ministering in our diocese, along with Fr Peter Codd who ministered in Bamenda for some years and Colm and Marrousia Lennon Organisers the Portsmouth Diocesan Project.
Bishop Michael celebrated Mass at St Mary’s & St Peter’s Church for a congregation of over 300 students from FCJ Primary School, Beaulieu Convent School and De la Salle College. He then visited De la Salle College to brief the leaders of the Island Bamenda Project.
Each of the Schools will be undertaking different projects to support a variety of needs in Bamenda with a focus on Enabling and Education. Having listened to +Michael there will be a clearer understanding of how we may most appropriately respond. In a similar fashion the Island’s Catholic communities in the East, West and St. Helier will be adopting specific projects and, this combined, will be the commencement of our Island Bamenda Project. In the fullness of time, it is envisaged that a particular project will be identified – and supported by Catenian Association Bursaries in collaboration with Jersey Overseas Aid - which will involve young Jersey people travelling overseas and actually providing service to the people of Bamenda.
In the evening the Jersey Circle of the Catenian Association hosted a Bamenda Ball at the Merton Hotel in aid of their particular participation in the Island Bamenda Project – which is to raise money to support the training and formation of a Student for the Priesthood in a Seminary in Bamenda. The ball raised almost £3,000.
When the twinning was originated by the former Bishop of Portsmouth – the late Archbishop Derek Worlock – Priests from Portsmouth were sent out to Bamenda. Among these, over thirty years ago, was a much loved Priest who served in Jersey – the late Fr Francis Isherwood. Monsignor Nicholas France MBE – our current Roman Catholic Dean in Jersey – was a regular visitor as Secretary to the then Bishop of Portsmouth. In recent years the situation has reversed and now we welcome Bamendan Priests to minister in Portsmouth Diocese.
On Saturday 4th November Bishop Michael visited Bishop Philip at Bishop's House and then on Sunday 5th November, Bamenda Sunday, he celebrated the 10am Mass in St John's Cathedral. There are more photos of the Mass here.