By Omar Bah
Rev. Gabriel Mendy, the newly appointed Catholic Bishop of Banjul, the first Gambian to occupy that office has been speaking about the expectations and challenges accompanying his new important role.
The new bishop will be ordained on 3 February 2018 at the Independence Stadium before a huge local and international congregation.
“As a son of the soil and as a member of the Dioceses and also the spiritant congregation, I know it would not be easy, but I am hopeful in spite of the challenges and difficulties we will be able to work together and take the Dioceses of the Church in The Gambia to another level,” he told West Coast Radio recently.
He added: “I feel the pressure quite alright but it is not something that is overwhelming. I am a positive person and I always believe and trust that when there is that willand joint effort, something that is impossible or difficult becomes possible in the end. With God’s assistance we will overcome the difficulties that we will face along the way.”
On the main challenges, Rev. Mendy said: “The challenges for the Diocese maybe something common to other dioceses. We have limited human resources and also material resources; those are not things you easily resolve overnight. It takes time to build human capacity to have the personnel that you need to work effectively. We don’t have much just like in vocation but hopefully that is improving at every given time.”
The Bishop said the institutions they have also need improvement, “And perhaps even expand them, but things don’t come easy, there is possibility for growth in terms of the number of parishes or schools we have. We also need to generate funds to do that.”
On the opportunities his appointment will present to the dioceses, Rev. Mendy said now that they have their own, “Perhaps there will be better understanding among the priests and religions. There will be better working relationship between all those concerned.”
“And like for me as a missionary I have been out and I have learnt a lot working in other places. So that experience I have also will be something that will make a difference hopefully. I also understand the situation in the Gambia and I hope that will also work in my favor,” he added.
He said he already began preparing spiritually and mentally in order for him to enter the day in a right frame of mind.
“I cannot claim I will be 100% prepared but hopefully I will serve the purpose of my appointment. The Diocese is leaving no stone unturned to ensure that this historical event is celebrated with a fitting programme of religious and social activities,” he concluded.