Cameroonian Priests to Continue Faith Education at Merrimack College

The Revs. Terence Ayuk and Njuakom Romaric this fall will enroll in Merrimack’s Spiritual Direction graduate certificate program.
Headshots of Revs. Njuakom Romaric and Terence Ayuk.
The Revs. Njuakom Romaric (left) and Terence Ayuk of Cameroon will pursue a master's degree in spiritual direction at Merrimack this fall.

In their home diocese in northwest Cameroon, the Revs. Terence Ayuk and Njuakom Romaric operate a youth clinic that provides support, training and resources to former child soldiers who previously fought in the ongoing Anglophone Crisis.

“This center at the moment still lacks a good number of services and facilities,” explained Fr. Romaric. “However, as part of reintegrating children and youths, (we have) been able to train young people in the areas of arts and graphics, painting, transformative arts, computer literacy programs and other handiwork.”

This fall, the priests will travel more than 5,000 miles to enroll in Merrimack College’s two-year Master’s in Spiritual Direction program and acquire the skills and knowledge to better serve and minister to those children.

Fr. Ayuk hopes his master’s degree will properly prepare him to teach those who can’t have the opportunity to study due to poor financial conditions or circumstances.

“I would like to be schooled in the art of pastoral counseling,” he continued, “so as to help the many Christians who go through a lot psychologically thus hampering the way of appreciating God.”

The Archdiocese of Bamenda, where priests work and serve, has parishioners who live in contested territory between Ambazonian militant groups and the Cameroonian government.

“Young people, both boys and girls, have chosen to pick up arms as a way to force the government to come to their aid to make the system better,” explained Fr. Ayuk. “The government, not willing to abide by their demands, takes up arms to force them to subdue.”

Merrimack’s Spiritual Direction graduate program teaches students how to guide and advise others on spirituality and faith. Andrew Nkea Fuanya, archbishop of the Archdiocese of Bamenda, previously visited Merrimack this past October.

“He had heard about our spirituality program and he’s looking for a place for his priests to study in the United States to give them a broader view on things,” explained Joseph Kelley, professor of religious and theological studies at Merrimack. “Bishop Nkea wants to give them as much education as they can to strengthen them in their work. Having Fr. Ayuk and Fr. Romaric here will be a great learning opportunity for our students. To have them hear about what’s happening in other parts of the world to kids their age and younger.”

In addition to their studies, Fr. Ayuk and Fr. Romaric will assist Fr. Raymond Dlugos, O.S.A., vice president for mission and ministry, with campus ministry duties including assisting students with spiritual guidance throughout the year.

“Working with young people in my diocese has been very challenging because I am not well equipped to better handle the concerns of young people,” Fr. Romaric explained. “Campus ministry experience is what I am looking forward to having and any other courses that could help me to better my ministry as pastor to those I minister to, be they young or old.”

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