Marian Helper Spring 2023

Notes from Rome By Fr. Joe Roesch, MIC Tell us about your background. I was born in 1981 in BetaréOya, a town in eastern Cameroon. The name is interesting. Germans, who created the map of Cameroon, asked the local people the name of the town. They thought they were asking where the king was, so they replied that he (Betaré) was sleeping (oya). My mother tongue is Gbaya, one of the 250 languages of Cameroon. The Virgin Mary is called “Mamma” in Cameroon. I greeted her every day with a “Hail Mary.” I lived near the Catholic parish, and served as an altar boy, lector, and member of a youth group. I loved soccer and animal husbandry. I wanted to become a doctor, but after high school, I felt a call to the religious life to take care of souls. Tell us about your Marian experience. My formation in the Marians took place in Rwanda and Cameroon, and I was ordained in 2010. I then served in our parish in Atok, and I was the diocesan chaplain for the same youth group that I had belonged to from 2009-2014. I then studied in Rome for two years and received a licentiate in spiritual theology. I completed an internship in Poland during which I studied Polish. My next experience was as the superior and rector of our House of Formation in Ngoya, Cameroon, for three years. I also taught the laity at the Catholic university there. What are you doing now in Rome? I have returned to Rome to complete my doctorate. My studies focus on spiritual theology, formation, and promoting vocations. I am writing my thesis on the transformation of the person through the charism. A charism is a gift of the Holy Spirit to a religious community to give the community its identity and purpose. Our charism is the living memory of the mystery of the Immaculate Conception. I am exploring how we can live our Marian charism authentically in Cameroon, so that we can become the spiritual leaders that God calls us to be. Can you tell us about the Marian ministry today in Cameroon? Our vicariate is in full bloom! We have five Polish missionaries, six Cameroonians in perpetual vows, and five students of philosophy and theology. We have three novices, six postulants, and 20 aspirants. Vocations are thriving. We work in a House of Formation, two parishes, and our Divine Mercy Shrine. We engage in works of evangelization; build chapels; and help children and adults through formation, various types of educational assistance, and getting them to the hospital for treatment. The Marian General Chapter, held every six years, is taking place in Rome in February. What are your thoughts of being a delegate for the first time? I am humbled by the responsibility and the expectations placed on me. It will be a joy to participate in the General Chapter with Marians from around the world. Pray for us. May the Virgin Mary’s Immaculate Conception be our protection and our salvation! THANK YOU, ‘MAMMA’ In this issue, we’ll meet Fr. Yves Oumarou, MIC, a Marian from Cameroon who is currently completing his doctorate at the Pontifical Salesian University here in Rome. The Marian mission to this west-central African nation began in 1999, and devotion to Divine Mercy is very popular there. Father Joe Roesch, MIC, is the vicar general of the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception. He lives in Rome. Listen to his new podcast, reading and reflecting on the journal of Blessed George Matulaitis- Matulewicz, on and Marian Helper • Spring 2023 • 7 Fr. Joe talks interviews Fr. Yves Oumarou, MIC from the country of Cameroon.