BY Nelson Manneh
On Thursday 30th November 2017, The Charge D’ affairs for the apostolic Nunciature, V Rev. Giovanni Bichirri, received confirmation from the Congregation for the Evangelization of People, that the announcement of the appointment of the successor to Rev. Dr. Robert P. Ellison, has been made and that Rev. Fr. Dr. Gabriel Mendy, C.s.s.P, is the newly appointed Bishop of the Catholic Dioceses of Banjul.
This most important and historic event, took place at the St. Anthony’s Parish Hall in Kololi. This is the first time the Catholic Dioceses of Banjul, has its own Gambian Bishop, after sixty years of existence.
Rev. Giovanni Bichirri who made the announcement, said the first part of the Canal Law gives concern about the Christians of a racing nation and it is the ambition from the pastoral care of all the Dioceses.
He said this year Rev. Dr. Robert P. Ellison who is 75 years old, has presented his resignation letter a few months before his 75th birthday.
“Being aware of the conditions of the Dioceses of Banjul, his resignation has been accepted and as the Charge D’ affairs, I have the honor to communicate to all of you, that his holiness Pope Francis, has appointed Rev. Fr. Gabriel Mendy from the congregation of the holy ghost, as Bishop of the Dioceses of Banjul. I take this opportunity to extend my sincere gratitude to the most Rev, Robert P. Ellison for the relentless sacrificial services he has rendered as the Bishop of Banjul,” Rev. Bichirri said.
Rev. Bichirri said the newly appointed Bishop is a well-known Gambian and urged the priests in the country to collaborate with the newly appointed Bishop of Banjul. Rev, Dr. Robert P. Ellison the outgoing Bishop said it was a joyful moment for the Gambia to have their own Bishop after sixty years of existence. “It is a moment that the good Lord has appointed Fr. Gabriel Mendy, to lead the flock of the catholic Dioceses of Banjul,” he said. He added that the newly appointed Bishop will finally come to the country in three months’ time and will be ordained as the Bishop of Banjul.
Speaking to Rev, Fr. Bruno one of the priest who was ordained the same year together with the Rev. Fr. Mendy, said the day was outstanding because it was the first time the country will have a Bishop, ‘‘who is a son of the soil we call Gambia. I join the priest hood together with Fr. Gabriel Mendy and today he is appointed as Bishop. That is a joyful moment for me,” he said.
Rev. Fr. Dr. Gabriel Mendy was born on the 9th of April 1967 in Lamin village. He belongs to the congregation of the Holy Spirit Fathers and Brothers. Gabriel Mendy was ordained as priest in 1997 and was first posted to St. Peters as the Parish Priest and later moved outside the Gambia, to continue his work as priest. Currently Rev. Fr. Dr. Gabriel Mendy lives in the Spiritan International School of Theology in Attakwu, Enugu State in Nigeria.