By Eric Tataw – Washington DC, USA, Saturday, February 22, 2020.
From Widikum to Mamfe, the Rt. Rev. Dr. Andrew Fuanya Nkea is in Bamenda as head of the Catholic Church in Cameroon’s North West and South West regions. He was appointed Archbishop of Bamenda and Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Mamfe by Pope Francis on December 30, 2019.
Born on August 29, 1965, in Widikum, in Momo Division of Cameroon’s North West Region in the Archdiocese of Bamenda, his father, Vincent Ivo Nkea from Letia-Fontem, and mother, Caroline Nanyi Lekunze from Bamunbu in Wabane Subdivision are both from Lebialem Division, South West of Cameroon in the Diocese of Mamfe.
The Rt. Rev. Dr. Andrew Fuanya Nkea was baptized on August 31, 1974, at the St. Theresa’s Cathedral Parish, Kumbo by Father John Kolkman. He received the First Holy Communion on September 1, 1974, and Confirmation on June 10, 1981, from the hands of the Rt. Rev. Pius Suh Awa (late Bishop Emeritus of Buea).
In a 2018 meeting of the Synod of Bishops on young people, faith, and vocational discernment, Mgr Andrew Nkea took to the rostrum, in all boldness, he completely mentioned that the Church in Cameroon and in many parts of Africa is growing all along with the youths.
“My churches are all bursting, and I don’t have space to keep the young people,” Nkea during a Vatican press conference in October last year. “And my shortest Mass would be about two and a half hours.”
The Man of God stated that the Church in Cameroon is growing thanks to the alliance between the Church’s teaching and the values of his country’s diverse communities. He also cited the strength of the family as a cultural institution.
“Coming from Africa, the family is a very, very strong institution. We come from a culture in which tradition normally is handed from one generation to the other,” the Bishop said, responding to the question of why his churches are full.
As Catholic Christians, the world over converge on the St Joseph Metropolitan Cathedral Big Mankon, Bamenda, Saturday, February 22, 202o for the canonical possession of the Metropolitan Archdiocese of Bamenda by the Rt. Rev. Dr. Andrew Fuanya Nkea, many religious are of the solemn opinion that Bishop Nkea’s outing during the synod meeting of 2018, is the secret to his appointment.
Many say they’re not surprised seeing the Bishop exercise much respect for African tradition by sharing Palm Wine with congregants. During the 2018 meeting, the Man of God made a historic statement on African Tradition and the Church which he urged Europe to learn this aspect from Africa.
“Our traditional values still equate to the values of the Church, and so we hand over the tradition to our young people undiluted and uncontaminated,” he continued, noting that a strong sense of community in the Church is something “very important that Europe can learn from Africa,” he said.
It was expected! Mgr. Andrew Nkea, former Bishop of Mamfe and now Archbishop of the Metropolitan Archdiocese of Bamenda has just driven out of Mamfe and the entire town is in tears. He touched many lives. His Canonical Possession is this Saturday, February 22, 2020, in Bamenda, Eric Tataw said in a Tweet, Thursday, February 20, 2020, representing the exact atmosphere at the time in Mamfe when the Bishop was driving off.
To many, Mamfe hates the fact that “their Bishop” was appointed to a higher position. To the congregants, the Bishop who preached love, forgiveness and communal growth, teaching by example should have been left with his people in Mamfe. “There’s still a lot of things we do as a community. That is the difference…,” This extract from the Archbishop’s 2018 discourse reflects the facts in his area.
Since 2013, when he was appointed as coadjutor bishop of the Diocese of Mamfe, before becoming the diocesan bishop the following year, Archbishop Nkea visited and prayed for the sick, assisted those in need, among many other great things, including working several hours on church farms.
He attended primary school education in St.Theresa’s School, Kumbo (1970-1975) and in Government Primary School Down Beach, Victoria (1975-1977), secondary school in Christ the King College, Tiko (1977-1981) and High School in Bishop Rogan College Minor Seminary. Soppo-Buea (1981-1983).
After teaching in Christ the King’s College, Tiko (1984-1985) he was then admitted to St. Thomas Aquinas Major Seminary, Bambui, where he did his Priestly Formation (1977-1992), obtaining a Bachelor’s Degree in Philosophy and a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology. He was ordained Priest on April 22, 1992, by His Lordship Bishop Pius Suh Awa for the Diocese of Buea.
In 1999 he was sent to Rome for further studies at the Pontifical Urban University where he specialized in Canon Law, from 1999-2003, obtaining a Licentiate and a Doctorate in Canon Law and a Postgraduate Diploma in Ecclesiastical Jurisprudence.
He has served the church in several pastoral, administrative and academic capacities. He was Assistant Parish Priest in St. John Bosco Parish, Mbonge (1992-1994), Parish Priest, Nyandong (1994-1995), Diocesan Chancellor and Bishop’s Secretary (1995-1999 and 2003-2007), member of the Diocesan College of Consultors and Presbyteral Council (2003-2007).
He was also Lecturer of Canon Law at the John Paul II Institute of Theology, Buea (2007-2010) and Professor of Canon Law at St. Thomas Aquinas Major Seminary, Bambui (2008- 2010), Defender of the Bond of the Ecclesiastical Tribunal of First Instance of the Ecclesiastical Province of Bamenda.
In 2007 he was appointed a Member of the Episcopal Commission for the Doctrine of the Faith of the National Episcopal Conference of Cameroon and since 2008 he has been a member of the Formation Team of St. Thomas Aquinas Major Seminary, Bambui. Also, since 2009 he has been Secretary-General of the Bamenda Provincial Episcopal Conference (BAPEC).
In 2010 he was appointed the First Registrar of the Catholic University of Cameroon, Bamenda (CATUC). In 2011 he was elected the First President of the Association of Canon Law in Central Africa. He’s the current Vice President of the National Episcopal Conference of Cameroon. Archbishop Andrew Nkea has also published a number of books and articles.
Among these books are; The Philosophical Analysis of the Nweh Concept of Personal Names (1988), The Nweh Funeral Traditions (1992), Ut Cogno-scat Te: The Life of Bishop Pius S. Awa on the occasion of the Silver Jubilee of His Episcopal Ordination (1996), The Role of Private Associations in the Church (2001), Mary, Mother of God and Mother of the Church (2007), “Scattered Seeds of Promise” (2009), etc.
The former Bishop of Mamfe, Rt. Rev. Dr. Andrew Nkea speaks quite a good number of languages: English, French, Italian, Pidgin English, Lamnso and Nweh his native tongue. His hobbies include reading and writing, research on African Traditional Religions and codifying Customary Laws, traveling, music, and sports.