The Mater Redemptoris Shrine
The Mater Redemptoris Shrine at Jangma was conceived and realized by Mr. Fred Mubang. He was a very pious man and known for his largesse and generosity to the Church in the Archdiocese of Bamenda. He sponsored the construction of the Bamenda Cathedral and a number of other Church Institutions.
The Shrine is located on a hill of about 1500 metres high between three Parishes: Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish, Njimafor to which it belongs, St. Joseph's Cathedral Parish, Mankon and St. Pius X's Parish, Akum. From there is a beautiful view of downtown Bamenda which it dominates.
Mr. Mubang realized the project of the Shrine single-handedly. He got the construction plans made, provided the material for the construction, personally supervised the construction works daily. It is said that he was at the work site everyday with the workers from morning till evening. He placed the order for the Stations of the Cross from Italy and paid for them.
It was his joy when the work was finished and he donated it to the Archdiocese of Bamenda. The Shrine was officially inaugurated and dedicated to Our Lady Mother of the Redeemer - Mater Redemptoris. It was a diocesan celebration in which all the clergy, religious and a mammoth crowd of the faithful from all corners of the Archdiocese participated. It was a joyful celebration, of prayer and penance.
After the inauguration the faithful were exhorted to come there on pilgrimage especially during Lent.
In order to put the Shrine into greater use the present Archbishop of Bamenda has instituted an official Archdiocesan Pilgrimage to the Shrine which takes place once a year, on the Third Friday of Lent. Since the last four years the Archdiocesan Pilgrimage has been taking place regularly every year on the Third Friday of Lent, presided over by the Archbishop or his Auxiliary. An estimated crowd of about 10.000 faithful - clergy, religious and laity, even from other neighboring Dioceses participate in it.
The Pilgrimage consists in praying of the Rosary, Stations in groups and all the Archdiocesan community together. The priests are available for the Sacrament of Reconciliation with Faculties to absolve from censures reserved to the Local Ordinary. It concludes with the Celebration of the Eucharist. It is a day of prayer, penance and multiple conversions. Throughout the year various groups of Christian Associations, movements, Small Christian Communities, Parishes, and even from other Dioceses go there on pilgrimage.
The devotions carried out here are centered on the Passion and Death of Christ based on the Stations of the Cross which are a very popular devotion and spirituality in the Ecclesiastical Province of Bamenda and in the whole of Cameroon especially during the Lenten Season. From Ash Wednesday till Good Friday the faithful pray the Stations of the Cross in the churches, Small Christian Communities or homes, everyday, starting as early as 5.00am in the morning before the celebration of the Holy Eucharist or in the afternoons and/or evenings for those who cannot make it in the mornings.
Besides the Stations of the Cross, a new chapel has just been constructed which houses a huge statue of the Pieta which occupies a prominent place at the right in the back of the chapel for devotional prayer. It is baptized as the Chapel of the Pieta and it promotes devotion to Our Lady of Sorrows. It has contributed a lot in the promotion of the spirituality of the people without distinction of creed. Not only Catholics but also members of other Christian Churches and even Muslims participate in the pilgrimages especially during the Lenten Season.
Our next project is to build a residence for the Chaplain for the spiritual welfare of the pilgrims - Sacrament of Reconciliation, Eucharistic celebration and counseling, and another residence for a Community of Religious to look after the Shrine. It is our vision to have hostels for the pilgrims who want to spend some time there for prayer and retreats and other infrastructure necessary and typical for such pilgrimage places.
Finally we want to construct a big esplanade for open air celebrations during big pilgrimages. Our dream is to construct on this spot a Basilica dedicated to Our Lady Mother of the Redeemer (Mater Redemptoris).
Cornelius Fontem Esua
Archbishop of Bamenda
4th November 2013