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JOPASIT Passes Out 2nd Batch 

By Yvonne Sevidzem & Nadine Atem*

The John Paul II Institute of Theology, JOPASIT, Saturday, October 3 passed out its second batch of graduates at the Charles Lwanga Catholic Church hall Molyko, Buea. Presided over by the Vicar General, Rev. Fr. Edward Ngalame, the ceremony had three objectives; to award certificates to deserving students of the first cycle who did a one year intensive program to deepen and appreciate their faith, to officially inaugurate the 2009/2010 academic year and to launch the second edition of the institute’s journal.

JOPASIT Director, Rev. Fr. George Nkeze, told the eight graduating students and guests that; "In our society today, there are all kinds of teachers, prophets and diviners who purport they are teaching the truth of Christianity. They have their websites, radio and television stations. This is part of the age. They teach their own doctrines they purport to be universal truths. In the midst of all this huge amount of information there is the need to develop a laity that has a critical mind… Jopasitans are being prepared for such a world." Rev. Fr. Nkeze reiterated that JOPASIT has a role to play in preparing lay faithful to face the challenges of the 21st century.

He cited some of these challenges as being the problems of the electronic age (digital and Internet cultures) which expose people to information, disinformation and plain nonsense.
Given the upsurge of churches and the accompanying propaganda, Nkeze said JOPASIT was training people to "distinguish truth from error, reality from fiction, and the real world from the cyber world which is not an option for the laity in the church, but a ‘must have’ in a world flooded with so much propaganda."

With these challenges, he said there was need to develop a laity with a critical mind in order that 21st century challenges should be given 21st century solutions, otherwise Christians will constantly fall victims to the challenges of the electronic culture. The JOPASIT Director finished off by highlighting certain qualities that the students were expected to have upon graduation. Among other things, students were expected to be true disciples of Christ.

"Discernment and right judgment are the hallmarks of a true disciple of Christ and consequently of all Jopasitans," Nkeze said. Speaking on behalf of the graduating students, Vivian Nama, a Presbyterian Christian, lauded the efforts of the administrators at ensuring that the true word of God was well disseminated. After the awards, the second edition of the institute’s journal; the Hamattan and Monsoon editions were launched.

At the end of the occasion, some students shared their views with The Post. Professor Boniface Nasah said JOPASIT has had a great impact on his life and that any one seeking the true God, irrespective of his educational level should ask himself how much he knows of the God.

"If we knew God as much as we are trying to now, Cameroon would be a better place," he said.
Another student, Maureen Chibili, said JOPASIT has helped her to be firm in her faith, adding that it has prepared her to face the challenges from other denominations and the outside world.
JOPASIT went operational on September 29, 2007. Since then, it has had over a hundred students enrolled in the first and second cycles, with three being non-Catholics.

The ceremony, attended by seven priests was highly animated by Catholic schools around Buea like St. Joseph’s College, Sasse, and Regina Pacis College (REPACOL) among others.

(UB Journalism Students on Internship)

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