January 10, 2000
volume 11, no. 6

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    Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday we spotlight each member of the Conclave in alphabetical order. We find this necessary as our dear Sovereign Pontiff Pope John Paul II grows older, clinging to hope, as we join him, of seeing the light of the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart with the dawn of the new millennium - the Jubilee Year 2000. How much longer this 264th successor of Peter has left on this earth only God knows for sure, but His Divine Mercy is evident in allowing him to be with us this long for he truly is a saint for our times, truly Christ's Vicar on earth in these waning days before the glorious Reign of the Sacred Heart, the Time of Peace, the Era of the Eucharistic Presence, the New Pentecost, the Second Advent, the Age of the Holy Spirit. What 1999 will bring we have no idea, nor does anyone else, but with John Paul II at the helm, we feel much more secure in knowing God's Will will be done. Nevertheless, we want to preview the future Pope whether that be soon or much, much later, for no one lives forever and eventually one of those prelates will be selected as the 265th successor of Peter. This will give the reader a better insight into the man whom the Holy Spirit will move the conclave to choose. Thus we bring the reader vignettes on each cardinal in alphabetical order gleaned from the Catholic Almanac, The Official Catholic Directory, Inside the Vatican and other sources.

143.   Cardinal Christian Wiyghan Tumi
    Cameroon's only red-hat is Cardinal Christian Wiyghan Tumi who was born in Kikaikelaki, Cameroon on October 15, 1930. Discerning a vocation to the priesthood and because his Diocese of Kumbo did not have a seminary, he entered the minor seminary in Nigeria and finished his major seminary in Lyon, France studying Theology and then Freiburg, Switzerland to receive his degree in Philosophy before being ordained on April 17, 1966. He was assigned various assignments in Europe before he was finally able to return to his beloved Africa in 1973 when he was appointed Rector of the Regional Seminary in Bambui, Nigeria. Six years later Pope John Paul II named him the first Bishop of Yagoua on December 6, 1979 and he was ordained and installed on January 5, 1980. Two years later in April of 1982 he was elected Vice-President of the Cameroon Episcopal Conference. Later that year on November 19th the Holy Father made him Coadjutor Archbishop of Garoua. Two years later he became Archbishop of Garoua in 1984.

    A year after this appointment he became President of the Cameroon Episcopal Conference. He received the extreme honor of membership in the Sacred Conclave when the Pope included him in his Consistory of June 28, 1988 when he received his red-hat and the titular church of the Martyrs of Uganda a Poggio Ameno. Three years later on August 31, 1991 the Holy Father promoted him to Archbishop of Douala on the Atlantic Coast where he still remains today residing at Archeveche, B.P. 179, Douala, Cameroon.

    Cameroon, a republic in west Africa bordering on the Gulf of Guinea on the Atlantic and the Nigeria to the north, boasts over three and a half million Catholics comprising over a fourth of the total population. The Faith was first brought to Cameroon 1890 by German missionaries, but it really mushroomed during the time the country was divided by British and French occupation between 1920 and 1960, Catholicism mushroomed from 60,000 to 700,000. Cameroon achieved independence in 1960 and, as has happened in so many African countries, experienced a period of civil unrest in 1990. The first native priests were ordained in 1935 and in 1944 the first hierarchy established with the first native bishops being ordained. Cardinal Tumi is the first ever cardinal from Cameroon.

    He enjoys curial membership in the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples and the Congregation for Catholic Education as well as the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and the Pontifical Council for Culture.


January 10, 2000
volume 11, no. 6

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