The Focolare: “Fontem’s backbone”

On the occasion of the annual meeting of the delegates of the Focolare worldwide, we received a request from His Majesty, the Fon of Fontem, to pray for the Bangwa people in Anglophone Cameroon.

In the letter addressed to “the highly esteemed President Maria Voce”, Asabaton Fontem Njifua, the highest traditional authority of the place where the Focolare town is located (southeast of Cameroon), wrote: “I’ve nothing particular to say – he said in the letter sent on 28 August from Palias d’Azi – if not to express my deepest and sincere gratitude to the members of the Focolare Movement, especially those working in Fontem.” “You must have already been informed of the socio-political crisis rocking our country, especially in the Anglophone regions. Fontem is one of the villages that have been strongly hit by the crisis.”

Recalling that one of his predecessors had named Chiara Lubich in 2000, as the “queen sent by God,” the Fon used bitter words to describe the current situation: “As human beings, we have tried in several ways to restore the peace that once existed and to bring the people to live the life which Mama Chiara – Mafua Ndem taught us. But the most part, if not all of our efforts, have been useless. Many of my people and even members of the Movement have been victims of the crisis. I think of the people who brought life, hope, love, togetherness and the light of God to Fontem, and who are now being subjected to inhuman treatment. My heart bleeds when I think of the development efforts and the infrastructure brought by the Focolare Movement, that are being destroyed. This and many other things push me to express my sincere gratitude to all the members of the Movement living in Fontem, who have stood the test and have remained committed to the cause of unity, peace and love.”

“In the current crisis – the king explained – thousands of people have fled their homes to find refuge in the Mariapolis Center of Fontem. My gratitude is way beyond bounds because the focolarini choose to be with my people, despite the fact that many have run away from the country. The reward awaits each and every one of them in heaven. In the midst of this, I have learned a great lesson from them – that of LIVING TOGETHER AS A FAMILY. They are indeed a true, trustworthy family. They haven’t given up on us and I pray they do not do so. The Focolare Movement is like the backbone of Fontem, without which we are nothing.”

After urging us to pray to the Father for his people, and that peace return to Cameroon, the Fon concluded: “Our greatest desire is to live the words of Mama Chiara ’THAT ALL MAY BE ONE.’ Remember us in your prays because prayers are all we need now. Man has failed but God cannot fail.”

See letter of HM Fon of Fontem