Rev. Father Michael Achanyi ordained as Catholic Priest on Saturday, May 24, 2014 at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York, USA by His Eminence Timothy Michael CARDINAL Dolan, the Arch Bishop of New York has offered a Thanks Giving Mass in Mamfe Town, in the south west region of Cameroon, where he was born. The Thanks Giving mass was offered in the Catholic Cathedral Parish on the 20th July, 2014 in presence of Bishop Francis Lysinge and several reverend priests of the diocese. St. John Paul II was quoted as saying Priesthood is forever. “We do not return the gift once given. It cannot be that who gave the impulse to say “Yes” would say later “No”.
The Achanyi-Fontem Family through the head expressed thanks and gratitude to the Catholic Church Hierarchy for having chosen their son to join in the mission that Jesus Christ started more than 2000 years ago. He described the choice of Michael Achanyi as a blessing to Lebialem, Manyu and Cameroon as a whole. James Achanyi-Fontem said where there is life, there is God and where there is God, and there is Hope, when calling on the thousands who turned out for the thanks giving mass to put Rev. Father Michael Achanyi in their prayers, so that he may be inspired and granted the Holy Spirit to carry out his mission successfully.
The Chair person of the Cathedral Parish Pastoral Council, Eyong Peter, rendered immense thanks and praise to God for the great gift of a priest in their midst, adding that once again God has smiled on them and made it possible that on the 24 May 2014, their brother, son, friend, and relation, Micheal Achanyi Ache was raised to the dignity of the sacred priesthood in the Holy Roman Catholic Church at the St. Patrick Catholic Cathedral for the Arch Diocese of New York, USA.
The event, Eyong Peter went on, is so very historic because finally something good has come out of Bessongabang given that Rev.Fr. Micheal Achanyi is the first catholic priest from Bessongabang, Manyu Division. Rev. Micheal Achanyi Ache hails from two strong christain families, the Takor's of Besongabang and the Achanyi's in the Lebang Fondom of Lebialem Division. It is worth nothing that the Takor's are notoriously Presbyterian and the Achany's are diehard and avowed Catholics. What was experienced with Michael Achanyi’s ordination was an expression of the Ecumenical Dimension of the Christian Faith, the fervent prayer of Jesus, that they may all be one.
Rev. Father Michael Achanyi is serving as a priest in the USA, which is not his country. He has lived in New York for four years and is well aware of the challenges ahead of him. The chairperson advised him to Keep alive the values which he imbibed from his upbringing, by always listening attentively to the prompting of the Holy Spirit in the daily discharge of his priestly ministry.
BIOGRAPHY OF REV. FR. MICHAEL ACHANYI ACHE
Michael Achanyi Folefac was born in Mamfe and attended St. Joseph's Catholic Primary School, Mamfe Town. Upon completion of his primary education, he was among the first batch of students to be admitted into Government Bilingual Secondary School at the time. After spending two years there, Michael moved to St. Paul's Technical and Commercial College in Bonjongo and later was moved to National Comprehensive High School in Limbe for high school studies.
At the request of the then Bishop of the Diocese of Mamfe. in 2001/2002, Michael began a year of pastoral experience as a prospective candidate for the diocese of Mamte at Okoyong village. Upon completion of that year, he proceeded to St. John Mary Vianney Spiritual Formation Centre Bafut prior to his entrance into St. Thomas Aquinas Major Seminar Bambui to begin Philosophy. Michael began studies in philosophy from 2003-2006. Under the guidance and great direction of Fr. Kisito Thompson, O.C.S.O., now of blessed memory, Michael applied and accepted to study in the archdiocese of New York in October 2008 and in March of 2009, he would travel to the United States to continue formation for the priesthood. Once in the U.S.A, Michael spent a year at St. John Neumann house of formation while taking some courses in St. John's University. Queens, NY. In 2010, Michael was admitted into St. Joseph's seminary, Yonkers, New York where he began his studies in theology. He was ordained a deacon on the 2nd September 2013 and was ordained a priest on Saturday the 24th May 2014 at St. Patrick's Cathedral. New York.
The Achanyi-Fontem family is thankful to all individuals and organisations that contributed to the success of the historic event in in Mamfe ; July 20, 2014. He was accompanied by his priesthood friend from the Arch Diocese of New York, Rev. Father Lorenzo. He blessed the marriage of a couple that travelled from New York, USA to Mamfe,Cameroon to receive the blessing of Rev. Father Michael Achanyi. Donations for the event came from all over including the chairperson of Fine Forest Foundation, HRE/Dr. Asaah Nkohkwo (Fuaseh Fontem)based in London, UK.
James Achanyi-Fontem, is a Senior Health Journalist and Communication Consultant. He worked as a health journalist and broadcaster for 30 years with Radio Cameroon and later Cameroon Radio Television, CRTV before retiring in 2005 to engage fully with Cameroon Link (Human Assistance Programme). Cameroon Link is a registered charity, not-for-profit organisation involved in the promotion of community health, humanitarian assistance, promotion of women and child rights through involvement of communities in Cameroon for mother and child health care. Cameroon Link is a partner to Commonwealth of Learning (COL), Farm Radio International (FRI), International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN Africa), World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA). As the intermediary of Commonwealth of Learning (COL), Cameroon Link is engaged to implement a Cameroon Rural Radio story design Programming through an investigative research, which aims to discover through interviewing beneficiaries of health programmes on their interests, documenting and disseminating new ideas about how radio stations produce and air Healthy Communities Radio Programs in Cameroon.