The Bishop-emeritus of the Diocese of Yokadouma (Cameroon), Bishop Eugeniusz JURETZKO, died on 16 January 2018 at a hospital in Lublin in his native Poland.
As a young priest, he was part of a group of four Oblates who left Poland in 1969 to study French in Paris before sailing for their new mission in Cameroon in January of 1970. For 21 years, he organized mission stations, built churches and chapels, organized education and sanitation, and took part in dialogue with Muslim leaders. His fellow Oblate, Archbishop Yves PLUMEY (=1991) appointed him Episcopal Vicar of the Archdiocese of Garoua in 1982. He also served as Vicar General for Archbishop Plumey’s successor, Cardinal Christian Tumi.
On 20 May 1991, Eugeniusz Juretzko was named the first bishop of the newly formed Diocese of Yokadouma, a territory of over 30,000 km2 and currently, over 20,000 Catholics. One of his most outstanding works was the evangelization of the Pygmies, organizing schools for them in the forest and becoming their advocate for just treatment.
Bishop Juretzko’s retirement from pastoral governance of the diocese had been accepted by Pope Francis on 25 April 2017. He spent his last months in his homeland, but his mortal remains will be returned to his diocese for burial.