Thousands of Christians mainly from the Catholic community on Saturday converged at the Independence Stadium to witness the consecration of the first Gambian born Catholic bishop.
Bishop Monsignor Gabriel Mendy writes his name in history as the 4th bishop since the inception of Catholic Diocese of The Gambia.
The ordination made him succeed Bishop Robert Patrick Ellison. He is also the first Gambian to be voted as a Catholic bishop for more than 60 years since the country became a diocese of its own.
Bishop Gabriel Mendy holds PhD in Systematic Theology and was born in Lamin. He was elected bishop on Nov. 30, 2017.
Saturday’s consecration was observed by senior government official, diplomats and religions leaders from different Christian denomination across the country.
Reverend Giovanni Bicchirri, Charge d’ Affaires of The Gambia who read the message from Pope Francis, said Bishop Mendy was appointed as bishop of Banjul with all implied rights and duties.
“We allow you to take the ordination outside the city of Rome, according to the liturgical prescriptions norms and premise, the profession of Catholic Faith and Oath of Fidelity to us and to our successors according to the sacred canons.”
He added: “We ask you to ensure that this document is made known to the clergy and the people of the diocese; whom we exhort to welcome you and always remain in union with you.”
He finally urged the new Catholic bishop to remain exemplary in life and fulfill the responsibilities of his office.
Bishop Gabriel Mendy described the event as extraordinary, saying it makes him understands the meaning and functions of the responsibility of the Office of the Bishop.
Bishop Mendy told the gathering that he was ready to learn, admitting it require more than a life time to understand and fulfill everything. He added that the office is so demanding but he is so prepared to serve the people.
He prayed that God enable him to be the people’s teacher in the school of God.
He acknowledged that the challenges ahead are high, but as a believer, he would be able to overcome them through the support of everyone. He therefore urges everyone to support him in the office.
The bishop said that all the former bishops who have served The Gambia have served very well. And with the challenges, he said they were able to make it through perseverance and commitment.
“All my knowledge, expertise and experience will be used to the best of my ability,” he said. “I am ready to offer you my life by serving Gambians or non-Christians.”