Christians gathered in the St Sebatien de Gondon cathedral of Bafia. The affluence in this place on Sunday, June 4, Christian feast of Pentecost seemed unusual. Without breaking the silence that reigned in the room, everyone looked for a free place. “Usually we are about 200 to 300 who attend the mass of 7:00, but today it is serious,” says a faithful. This Sunday 04 June was the first since the death of the Bishop of Bafia, Bishop Jean Marie Benoît Balla, confirmed two days earlier. Family members and even faithful walked for miles to attend mass in the cathedral he led before the drama.
Sitting in a corner of the cathedral, silently, her face scowling, a lady listened attentively to the parish priest who had just pronounced the name of Bishop Jean Marie Benoit Balla. The lady called Marie-Christie she came from Notre dame des victoires parish in Douala. And if she found herself on Sunday in the locality of Bafia, it was hoping to find answers to all her questions about the death of Bishop Jean Marie Benoît Balla, but also to pay her homage. “He was a good, simple man; Who loved prayer and truly devoted himself to his ministry. When he was consecrated Bishop of Bafia, nearly fourteen years ago, I was there and today that misfortune befell us, I could not afford not to come. I am pained and saddened at the same time I ask myself a lot of questions about what really happened, “says this faithful.
The evocation of the fatality that has just struck the Catholic community of Cameroon was made as soon as the mass was opened. The priest Jean Aimé Amougou Mballa remained discreet about the circumstances of the death of the bishop. He nevertheless wished to be reassuring by telling church members that Father Jean Marie Mballa had not “committed suicide“. No further detail was given on this case, but a recommendation: “Let us fear everything we hear, let us talk little, listen much, and pray a lot“.
Father Jean Aimé Amougou invited the relatives of the late bishop not to lose hope, to put their trust in God “who alone consoles” and especially not to live in “agitation“. A special prayer for the rest of the soul of Bishop Jean Marie Benoit Balla was delivered at the end of the Mass.