Hundreds of Christians from the Catholic community on Wednesday 3 January gave an astounding welcome to The Gambian born first Catholic bishop-elect, Monsignor Gabriel Mendy, upon his arrival at the Banjul International Airport.
Rev. Gabriel Mendy has finally landed to succeed the current Bishop Robert Patrick Ellison, after his ordination, which takes place in February 2018. He will be 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-elect Gabriel Mendy, PhD in Systematic Theology was born in Lamin. He was elected bishop on 30 November, 2017.
Upon his arrival at the airport, he said he was delighted for a day like this and prayed for God to give him strength to work as expected for positive improvement in the diocese.
“To be elected as the first bishop comes with challenges and responsibility which is a new thing, but it’s a common task that we share as members of the church,” he said.
He added that he is here to continue from his predecessors as expected, saying he would do his best to fulfill his responsibility of the office of the bishop.
Bishop Rev. Emil Sambou, the current vicar general of Banjul, said he was joyous and thankful to God who has made it possible for the son of the land to be appointed bishop to be the head of the Catholic Church of The Gambia.
He added that the day means a lot to the Catholic community in The Gambia and beyond. “I have been ordained on the same day with him and two other Rev. Fathers. He was my senior in seminary. I know him as a man of principles, intelligent and down to earth. Having been together in the seminary, we have always looked up to him.”
The Catholic community, he said, should value and support him towards his leadership role. He added that “it is not an easy task to lead, but his management style will determine how he will be received by Catholic family in the diocese.”