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Cameroon: Rev. Lado’s “Open Letter of a Walking Catholic Priest”
Category :- Religion Author :- N Gelmin S 
Posted on October 14, 2020, 9:45 am
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Roman Catholic Jesuit Priest, Rev. Father Ludovic Lado in August 2020 wrote a letter promising to undertake a solidarity walk across the two English Speaking Regions of Cameroon in prayers for a return to peace in these regions that have for the past three years been hit by violence and insecurity.

Roman Catholic Jesuit Priest Rev. Father Ludovic Lado

The letter read:

OPEN LETTER OF A WALKING CATHOLIC PRIEST

“RISE AND WALK” (Jn 5, 8)

Dear Compatriots,

When you read this, I will already be on my way. I am writing to share with you the spirit of the pilgrimage of brotherhood and reparation that I am undertaking this October 10, 2020, from Douala to Yaoundé. I am walking to pray and plead on the one hand for dialogue, justice, peace and reconciliation in the North-West and South-West of Cameroon and on the other hand to do penance for the reparation of crimes against human dignity committed in these regions. I am drawing inspiration from those Christian values which are simply human values: peace, dialogue, justice, reconciliation, brotherhood.

Roman Catholic Jesuit Priest Rev. Father Ludovic Lado embark on his pilgrimage to see peace return to Anglophone Cameroon

“Rise and walk” (Jn 5, 8) said Jesus to the sick person who, like our country, had waited for healing for 38 years. At the beginning of the Anglophone crisis was a repressed peaceful demonstration and since then human blood has been flowing in the NW / SW regions. Recently, several hundred peaceful demonstrators were arrested and are languishing in the infected cells of our country. I walk so that human blood stops flowing in our country. I walk so that Cameroonians may again freely exercise their constitutional right to peacefully demonstrate. Morover, to walk is a divine right. I walk in solidarity with internally displaced and the refugees of this useless war. I walk to exorcise in me and in us the demon of indifference.

The general theme of this pilgrimage is “Where is your brother?” (Gn 4: 9), a question that God put to Caien who had just killed his brother Abel. I am particularly delighted with the recent release of Pope Francis' encyclical "Fratelli Tutti" on brotherhood and friendship which I am reading during this pilgrimage. Yes, where are our NW/SW brothers and sisters? Some died, often in atrocious conditions; others remained in the country but are dispersed in our towns and countryside, often at our doors; still others have taken refuge outside the country. Most are in the NW/SW where their dignity is tested daily by precariousness. In the face of all of this, I am unable, as a pastor, to rest. I have therefore decided to undertake this pilgrimage which I offer to the Lord Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, justice, reconciliation and merci, as the five loaves and two fishes of the apostles in the Holy Scriptures (Lc 9, 16). He will do with it whatever he wants.

Roman Catholic Jesuit Priest Rev. Father Ludovic Lado in an open letter pledge to walk across the Anglophone region for a return to peace

For the penance component of it, I was recently greatly encouraged by the national day of fasting and prayer decided by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to end the sin of racism and renew its commitment to seek racial justice. In fact, while meditating on the Genesis passage from which the general theme of this pilgrimage is taken, I was touched by the evocation of the social and cosmic consequences of fratricidal murder: “And the LORD said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground. 11And now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. When you work the ground, it shall no longer yield to you its strength. You shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth.” (Gn 4, 10-12). Our land is cursed by the blood of our innocent brothers and sisters. Therefore, I walk also to do penance for the reparation of blood crimes committed against innocent people in the context of this war.

Finally, the first phase of my pilgrimage which takes place this October will take me from Douala to Yaoundé, the heart of political institutions, whose first virtue, Paul Ricoeur tells us, should be social justice. But let me reassure you that even though I am a staunch defender of power change as an indicator of any healthy democracy, I am not walking to chase anybody from power. It is not my role but that of politicians. But I don’t forget that it was a politician who had Jesus Christ killed to please the clergy of those days. The highlight when I arrive in Yaoundé will be to pay a brotherly visit to M. Bibou Nissack detained in the infamous cells of SED, symbol of all the detainees of the recent peaceful demonstrations of September 22, 2020. All arrested should be freed.

Roman Catholic Jesuit Priest Rev. Father Ludovic Lado embarks on his pledged pilgrimage for a return to peace in Anglophone Cameroon

Finally, this phase of my pilgrimage will also be punctuated by fundraising to contribute to the education of children internally displaced in other regions of Cameroon, now that schools are reopening. This outpouring of generosity is the very expression and incarnation of our brotherhood, for, indeed, we are "All brothers”, as Pope Francis has just reminded us in his beautiful and providential encyclical. And speaking of incarnation, Jesus incarnated himself to become our brother and to teach us to call God "our Father". I walk to share a little bit the condition of our brothers and sisters of the NO/SO, internally displaced or refugees, who have been living in precariousness for a little over four years. You can contribute at the following numbers: 6 83 91 80 56/6 97 21 04 80. By sponsoring a step of my pilgrimage, you offer an exercise book or a book to an internally displaced child.

This, dear brothers, is the meaning of this spiritual exercise and I beg you to pray for me that my offering may be pleasing to God like that of Abel and that this fratricidal war which is violating human dignity can finally come to an end and give way to peace negotiations and reconciliation work. Stay blessed!

Brotherly yours,

Ludovic Lado SJ

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