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The catechist has remained for fifty years in the same village

 

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Sanctuary dedicated to Saint Marcellin at Abeng-Eseng

02/11/2006: Equatorial Guinea

Abeng-Eseng is a village situated twenty kilometres from Ebibeyin, where the sanctuary dedicated to Saint Marcellin is found. Near the church there is a nursery school subsidised by the village.
Saint Marcellin was declared patron of the village; his feast is celebrated on the 22nd July, the anniversary of his priestly ordination.
On this occasion, the Vicar General of the diocese celebrated Mass in the sanctuary. He invited us to accompany him.

At the entrance to the village, the President, the catechist and numerous persons, especially women surrounded by children, dressed in white tunics decorated with the image of the Founder, screen printed in blue, were waiting for us.
The sanctuary is a vast wooden church, in the style of a basilica, with a central nave and two lateral naves, separated by columns. On the front wall there is a text written in Fang “Lugan NTI meyong mese” whose literal translation is: “Praise the Lord all the nations.”

The Mass in Fang is very rich in signs, songs and dances, executed by women holding in their hands two clusters of feathers of different colours which they shake rhythmically. A special time is the offertory; about one hundred women approach the altar carrying all sorts of offerings: cleaning articles, various items of food, fruit (manioc, pineapples, avocados, papayas, mangos, sawa-sawa, peanuts), and a great variety of animals, both domestic and for food. The celebrant blesses them. The homily is pronounced in Fang, with a summary in Spanish. The Mass lasts a little more than three hours. Then comes a time of sharing followed by the meal, appetising and varied, prepared by the women.

I would like to highlight the figure of the catechist, Mr Antonio Eyama Oboama. He has been a catechist for fifty years without interruption in this same village and has not accepted better-paid jobs that would have demanded his departure from the village. Retired at present, he is the good man of all these people.
We returned to the house towards six o’clock in the evening, after having had an unforgettable day due to the affection and the closeness of the people of Abeng-Eseng.

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