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Pa Henry Achingale, Liturgical Music Icon

Posted on December 31, 2019 By Fada Herbert in Funeral Reports



One of the retired Catholic teachers and seasoned Choir masters of South West, by name Pa Henry Achingale slept in the Lord last Wednesday 13Nov 2019. Since about 2012 (or earlier) he suffered a stroke was speech and walking impaired, and remained for the most part at his residence at Great Soppo. That was where I met him for the 1st time, as a deacon on apostolic work.

Pa Achingale taught in the 80's and 90's at CKC Tiko, and his supervision of the choir made CKC the pride of Tiko, especially on National Youth Day Competitions. Thanks to him CKC college had an Anthem in 1989. His impact was also felt in, Buea Town parish, BIROCOL (Ccast Bambili and beyond) due to his signature compositions like:

- Sanctificetur nomen Tuum (Our Father 4m a Latin Mass)
- "Remember, Remember, the history of Birocol" ( which was adapted from his song: Facts and figures about Mt. Fako)
- Why gain the whole world and suffer the loss of your soul.
- Consider your Ways
- Shall We Meet

When Buea Diocese was co-terminous with the whole South West Region, it was the likes of Pa Achingale of Buea, and others like Pa Mbella Joachim of Kumba, Stephen Foba of Fiango, and Joseph Kang of Tombel) who coordinated the Fako and Meme Catholic Choirs Association. These choirs sang at Diocesan activities that took place in these localities and were the pride of late Bishop Pius Awa. Songs like Yes, we will enter your house date to this era.

Pa Achingale was especially instrumental in coordinating the team of 6 choir masters (including Mr Aloysius Fonkeng) who jointly composed the "Jubilee Mass of Buea Diocese" using rythyms from the 6 key areas where the faith was implanted in by the missionaries, namely Bonjongo, Ikassa, Baseng, Fiango, Ossing, Mbetta. That mass, still in use today, tells the history of the faith in musical terms - a good testimony both of creativity and collaboration among authors. (See full story on pg 2 of document below).

Pa was not only a songwriter but a committed Catholic. His charisma made him to be invited for several rallies and Festivals by Presbyterian and Baptist Churches and he even wrote songs annually for their competitions. Once, he was promised a trip and career abroad on the condition he will convert to the Baptist Church..but he denied... Faith of our Fathers! A faith still evident in his wife and over 6children, some of whom are choristers and one, a Rev Sister....

Though speech impaired, Pa Achingale was nevertheless still musically active till his death: -In 2016, he contributed an "Our Father" to a collection of 2 Masses jointly composed by 16choirmasters in honour of late Fr Denis Ndang. -In 2017, he also supervised the recording of songs he composed leaving us a CD entitled "The Message of Fatima", in this way reminding us of the necessity of prayer, repentance and peace. Apparently, God seized Pa's power of speech, to prepare him to use that voice eternally to sing his praise in Heaven...

May his soul sing in that choir forever, till we meet again! Adieu

By Fr. Herbert Niba

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Fada Herbert is a Roman Catholic priest of the Diocese of Buea. He is equally an author, songwriter and has written several articles in the areas of Philosophy, fiction, Religion and Society Follow him on Facebook, twitter and visit his website at www.mydailysong.net

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